Eighteen people whom LAPD Chief William Bratton described as “knuckleheads” found themselves under arrest Sunday night in the wake of the Lakers 99-86 win over the Orlando Magic.
The “knuckleheads” started fires, looted convenience stores and tried to overturn cars. I even watched a few climb up on the freeway to wave their Lakers flags in front of passing cars. For an hour or so, downtown LA might as well have been Detroit.
City News Service reports that LAPD arrested 18 people for various offenses including arson; failure to disperse; inciting a riot; and misdemeanor warrants, Eisenman said. The actual number of arrests was revised downward from an estimate of 25 that was reported last night by various media outlets.
City News Service also reports that 12 LAPD vehicles were damaged, one sheriff’s vehicle was damaged, and six Metro buses were damaged. Some officers were injured when fans hurled bricks and bottles, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Andy Mathes of the Central Station.
Speaking to KTTV Fox11, Bratton said officers “used minimal levels of force, behaving very professionally,” despite attempts to provoke them. Fans also gathered at Whittier and Atlantic boulevards and rocked vehicles and stopped at a traffic light, but no injuries were reported. Two people were arrested in that incident, officials said.
Similar outbursts also followed Lakers championship victories in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
The California Fire Page advises that riots have broken out in downtown Los Angeles after the Lakers won the NBA Championship Sunday night.
Trees have been lit on fire and knocked down. Rioters have attmpted to knock cars over.
Extra police and sheriffs patrols were dispatched to Staples in anticipation of civil unrest according to KCAL9′s Web site.
KABC has live coverage of fans making their way to the Harbor Freeway
The Associated Press has just issued an update at 9:34 p.m.:
*LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police officers have declared the increasingly rowdy crowd gathered near the Staples Center after the Lakers‘ championship victory an unlawful assembly.
Officer Karen Rayner says members of the crowd damaged one or two police cruisers and were setting bonfires in the street Sunday.
Aerial video footage shown on KCAL-TV showed people jumping on a police car and throwing flares set up by police.
No injuries have been reported.
Rayner says reinforcement officers have been called in from throughout the city to help disperse the crowd.