LAPD said it made 76 arrests after hundreds gathered near Staples Center to celebrate the Lakers 2020 championship victory, Sunday.
After the Lakers’ 106- 93 NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat, fans made their way to Staples Center despite several freeway exits being closed in an attempt to prevent fans from gathering there.
In addition to the arrests, LAPD said more than 30 buildings were damaged, eight officers were injured and two civilians were injured due to police use of force. Those individuals were taken to nearby hospitals.
“What started out as a peaceful celebration of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA championship in downtown Los Angeles, turned into confrontational, violent and destructive behavior late last night,” LAPD said in a statement.
The statement went on to say that “unruly individuals” in the crowds began to throw objects toward police officers, which led to the gathering being declared an unlawful assembly.
Several nearby businesses were also vandalized by individuals at the gathering.
Multiple user-uploaded videos showed fans fighting, throwing objects at vehicles, lighting fireworks, climbing streetlight poles, climbing construction scaffolding and having verbal altercations with officers.
It’s a mf SCENE outside the STAPLES Center. pic.twitter.com/5mavKWgJE5
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) October 12, 2020
The Laker team arrived in Los Angeles this morning after spending more than two months in an isolated “bubble” created in Orlando’s Disney World to keep players and personnel away from the public and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
On their way to the their 17th NBA championship, the Lakers had to battle the Portland Trailblazers in a first round matchup, as well as the Houston Rockets in the next round.
The Lakers then faced the Denver Nuggets in an Eastern Conference matchup that saw a buzzer-beating shot by Anthony Davis in the second game of the 7-game series.
The Lakers then made their way to the NBA Finals, led by Finals MVP LeBron James, as they defeated the Miami Heat in six games.