Several thousand happy Los Angeles Lakers fans streamed into downtown Los Angles outside Staples Center Sunday night to celebrate the team’s 17th NBA championship.
The scene outside Staples Center, which was being monitored by Los Angeles police in tactical gear, was mostly peaceful for the first half hour or so, but ended with several businesses damaged and vandalized. One person was arrested for vandalism and five were arrested for looting.
Sixty-one people were arrested for failure to disperse.
Video posted on Twitter showed Los Angeles police officers firing non-lethal projectiles, and people in the crowd trying to damage police vehicles by kicking and throwing objects at them.
Before the scene began to turn ugly, people were seen dancing on Chick Hearn Court and Figueroa Street and setting off firecrackers. Drivers were also seen doing donuts on the streets.
LAPD said early Monday morning that several businesses were damaged, vandalized and broken into including a Starbucks on 9th and Flower, a CVS store on 8th and Olive, and a liquor store on 14th and Grand.
A photo posted on Twitter shows several “celebrating” Lakers fans standing atop an orange MTA bus spray-painted with graffiti.
As of 8:30 p.m., it appeared the scene had grown more peaceful, according to media reports from the scene.
At the request of the LAPD, the California Highway Patrol issued a SigAlert and blocked the northbound Pico Boulevard and Ninth Street off-ramps from the 110 Freeway, as well as the Pico Boulevard off-ramp from the eastbound 10 Freeway. Those ramps were reopened at 1:08 a.m., according to CHP Officer Patrick Kimball.
As of 9:45 p.m., police began aggressively acting to disperse the crowd from around Staples Center.
LAPD was on citywide tactical alert as a result of crowds celebrating the Lakers championship in downtown Los Angeles, says Officer Mike Lopez in LAPD Media Relations.
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Source: NBC Los Angeles