Police defend arresting more than 100 in weekend street racing bust, citing possible danger

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Clayton County police are now explaining why they arrested more than 100 people over the weekend for street racing, as many of those arrested say they weren’t doing anything wrong.

Police say 102 people a day are killed in this country in vehicle-related incidents. They say drivers doing donuts, like some are accused of doing over the weekend, is a recipe for danger.

Some people who were arrested for loitering say they weren’t involved and shouldn’t have been placed in handcuffs and forced to bond out of jail.

“I didn’t expect to be going to jail, especially over loitering,” said Connor Smith, who was arrested over the weekend.

Clayton County police say a video shot in Henry County is what led to more than 100 people getting arrested at a Sam’s Club near Morrow early Sunday morning.

“They had been posting videos on social media. Vehicles speeding, laying drag, driving recklessly,” said Capt. Gary Flinn with the Clayton County Police Department.


Police got a tip they were headed to the Sam’s Cub parking lot. Officers arrived and say there were more than 100 cars there.

Police blocked off the exits and began arresting people.

“They started towing everyone’s cars and they started putting people in handcuffs,” Smith said.

A total 75 adults and 27 juveniles were arrested and charged with loitering.

Smith told Channel 2′s Tom Jones that he was there two minutes before he and his girlfriend were arrested.

“You’re arresting people for loitering. You didn’t give like a warning. You just said let’s go, get out of here,” Smith said.

Police say drivers were doing donuts in the parking lot, which could get someone killed.

“If that driver just loses control for a split second and there’s a 100 people standing out there,” Flinn said.

Smith’s father, Robert Smith, said there was one person doing donuts. Robert Smith told Jones he thought the arrests were way overboard.

“Those kids sitting there crying. There’s like 17-, 18-, 19-year-old kids sitting in the parking lot crying,” Robert Smith said.

Police say only two of the people they arrested were from Clayton County. Some were from as far away as Monroe and Clark counties.

Officers want to send the message: don’t come to Clayton County and gather for shows like this.