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8 Cops Wounded, 76 Rioters Arrested After LA Lakers Win Championship

Los Angeles, CA – Eight police officers were injured and 76 people were arrested when thousands crowded Figueroa Street to celebrate the Los Angeles Lakers winning the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship on Sunday night.

The Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Oct. 11, KTTV reported.

Thousands of fans took to the streets despite warnings from public officials about the health threats and dangers of mass gatherings.

“As we cheer our @Lakers’ 17th championship, please remember it’s still not safe to gather in groups,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted. “Let’s honor our city’s triumph by protecting others and making sure we don’t spread the virus. Please celebrate safely at home. Do not gather at Staples Center. Thank you!”

But his plea was ignored by thousands of Lakers fans and it wasn’t long before fans outside the Staples Center started demonstrating what the Los Angeles Police Department called “confrontational, violent & destructive behavior” in the street and officers began making arrests.

Videos of the scene showed that when officers first tried to take control of the incident, rioters pushed back at them, chasing at least one police car as it reversed away from violent fans who were kicking it and throwing things at its windows.

The celebration turned violent and became a riot that damaged at least 30 nearby buildings, KTTV reported.

Storefronts were smashed and covered in graffiti.

One video showed a mob attacking a Metro bus that was caught in the spontaneous celebration-turned-riot.

The terrified driver repeatedly honked the horn as Lakers fans smashed the windows, spray-painted graffiti all over the exterior and interior, and eventually set it on fire before the driver fled.

Another video showed rioters looting a Starbucks in downtown Los Angeles.

In addition to property damage, numerous fights broke out between fans in the streets.

One video showed a man receiving a beat down from a group wearing Lakers jerseys that included bashing him over the head with a metal scooter.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said 76 people were arrested during the chaos on charges that included vandalism, assault on a police officer, and failure to disperse.

The department said that eight officers had to receive medical treatment from injuries sustained during the riot.

“They call it a celebration but I’m wondering what could’ve happened if the Lakers had lost? This is tragic. The mayhem and destruction … it’s just sad,” a local resident told KTTV.

The TV ratings for the Lakers’ championship victory were down 57 percent from the 2019 championship game between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors, according to TheWrap.

Sunday’s Game 6 was broadcast on ABC and had only 5.6 million viewers, but competed with National Football League games because of the NBA’s schedule changes and delays.

The first four games of the NBA Finals were the least-watched of that kind of game in recorded history, the New York Post reported.

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Written by
Tom Gantert

Tom Gantert graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Tom started in the newspaper business in 1983. He has worked at the Jackson Citizen Patriot (Michigan), Lansing State Journal (Michigan), Ann Arbor News (Michigan), Vineland Daily-Journal (Michigan), North Hills News Record (Pennsylvania) and USA Today (Virginia). He is also currently the managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential, a daily news site of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Tom is the father of a Michigan State Police trooper.

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