"I give the game a 10, I give the celebration about a five," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. "We still have incidents with people coming in from the outside, vandalizing, taking over intersections, throwing rocks and bottles at police officers.( Fri Jun 18 09:15:27 PDT 2010 $__output )
"As a matter of fact, we have a police officer injured with a broken nose from an object thrown. We've made multiple arrests, we used overwhelming force, we had a maximum number of police officers deployed here to clear out the crowds around Staples Center, and we're still in the process of doing that."
A few people jumped on cars, kicked cars and threw traffic cones at cars. When they weren't busy attacking cars, they were setting fires, breaking windows, tagging buildings and damaging property in the area around Staples Center.
As of Friday morning, the LAPD reported 38 arrests. And, surprise, most (34) were males.
Fifteen people were arrested for felonies, 22 for misdemeanors. LAPD spokeswoman Mary Grady said people were arrested for public drunkenness, vandalism and inciting a riot.
Unlike last year, no busses were destroyed in the making of this post-game mayhem.
For people who live downtown, being in the middle of the action suddenly didn't seem like such a good idea.
Jazmine Rodriguez, 24, lives in an apartment building not far from Staples Center. She said every car on her street had its windows smashed.
"When we came down here, only one window was smashed. The cops told us to go back inside, and they (revelers) smashed the other one," Rodriguez told the Associated Press.
Delmi Ramos tried to salvage what she could from her car, which was filled with shards of broken glass.
"We just wanted to see the celebration and be part of the Lakers' win. We never thought this would happen," she said. "It's these young people who don't know how to behave. They cause damage to people, to the community, because they don't know how to celebrate in a healthy way."
Officers staged outside Staples Center started dispersing crowds during the first half of the game.
The game ended just before 9 p.m. Thursday and, by midnight, the Los Angeles Fire Department had responded to three vehicle fires, one vegetation fire and 15 rubbish fires within a half-mile radius of Staples Center, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said. In that same area, the fire department handled 18 medical aid requests, and eight people were taken to hospitals, Humphrey said.
At least one police car was damaged, Beck said.
Shortly after the game ended, police declared an "unlawful assembly" and started breaking up the crowd, forming a skirmish line at Figueroa and 11th streets.
The crowd was pushed away from the intersection, but some revelers continued to spar with police.
In East Los Angeles, a crowd gathered on Whittier Boulevard, but no major problems were reported there, said Capt. Mike Parker of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.
Hundreds of sheriff's deputies were in the area, which was closed to vehicle traffic between Eastern and Garfield avenues, he said. It's unclear how many arrests were made by deputies assigned to the sheriff's East Los Angeles station.
The Times reported that police fired non-lethal rounds into a crowd after a parking enforcement vehicle was overturned and some orange traffic cones were set on fire at Figueroa Street and Venice Boulevard. According to the L.A. Now blog, police asked for permission to fire on men throwing concrete chunks at them.
Los Angeles police had five times the presence compared to last year, when the Lakers won in Florida and some vandalism occurred during the post-game celebration near Staples Center.
Humphrey of the fire department did not know many fires were reported.
On June 14, 2009, the Lakers sealed an NBA championship with a victory in Florida against the Orlando Magic. That night in Los Angeles, there was a melee outside Staples Center that included a bonfire.
A shoe store was broken into and looted; a gas station was looted; a Metro Blue Line train was damaged; about a dozen LAPD vehicles and a sheriff's vehicle were damaged; and six Metro buses were damaged. Several LAPD officers were hurt, and more than a dozen people were arrested.
On Wednesday, following a yearlong probe, law enforcement officers in Los Angeles and Riverside counties raided 31 addresses and arrested at least as many members of the OCP tagging crew that allegedly vandalized a Metro bus after the Lakers' 2009 win.