Rowdy Celebrations After Lakers Win Lead to 76 Arrests in Downtown LA

LeBron James (Courtesy of Instagram)

Following the Lakers NBA Championship win on Sunday night, 76 people were arrested in downtown Los Angeles.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, fans were taken into custody on suspicion of vandalism, unlawful assembly and failure to disperse after a crowd of more than 2,000 converged near the Staples Center following the team’s 106-93 win against the Miami Heat in Orlando, Fla.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore took to Twitter to urge fans to “celebrate responsibly,” writing: “Congrats to the @Lakers on bringing a Championship home to Los Angeles — Thank you for giving our city something to smile about in 2020. Let’s all do our part, and celebrate responsibly.”

As the night progressed, there were reports of firecrackers, vandalism and disturbances, including a Metro bus that was briefly set ablaze and a Starbucks that was ransacked near 9th and Flower streets.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, police responded by firing nonlethal weapons, including rubber bullets, at throngs of people after bottles and other projectiles were thrown by the crowd.

The LAPD confirmed two people were injured by “less lethal munitions,” and transported to area hospitals. Eight officers also sustained injuries and received medical treatment. More than 30 buildings and establishments were damaged.

L.A. County’s health officer, Dr. Muntu Davis, had urged fans in a press briefing last week to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines during celebrations and avoid large gatherings, but many people didn’t follow health protocols.

“We were hoping for better,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Vito Palazzolo, “but based on the previous championship, we were ready.”