About 80 people were arrested and eight police officers were injured Sunday night after celebrations for the Lakers’ NBA championship spiraled out of control and ended in violence.
“What began as a largely peaceful celebration of the Lakers’ NBA championship in downtown Los Angeles has degenerated into violent and destructive behavior,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement Monday.
He said about 1,000 fans flocked to the Lakers’ home court Staples Center after the team dominated the Miami Heat 106-93 to win the title that tied the championship record of their once bitter rivals the Boston Celtics, with 17.
“Unruly individuals mixed within the crowd began throwing glass bottles, rocks and other (types of) projectiles at the officers,” the text said.
“It was then that an illegal assembly was declared, and only a limited number of people complied and began to disperse,” he continued. “Most of the group broke up and began vandalizing businesses while maintaining their violent behavior.”
The authorities indicated that more than 30 buildings were affected by the violence and that 76 people were arrested for vandalism, attacks against police officers and disobedience to the dispersal order.
Video footage showed policemen in riot gear trying to control the responding crowd with rubber bullets by throwing objects and attacking patrol cars.
Authorities had recommended that fans not gather in the city center for the game due to restrictions linked to the covid-19 pandemic and the fact that the game was not going to be broadcast on giant screens outside the court.
jz / jt / lda