L.A. returns to normal following near riot

09:32, June 19, 2010      

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Downtown Los Angeles was getting back to normal on Friday following a near riot in the wake of Lakers' victory over the Boston Celtics, authorities said.

Lakers fans and troublemakers filled streets outside Staples Center after Lakers won Game 7 of the NBA finals Thursday night.

Most fans behaved well, but a few people jumped on cars, set fires, broke windows, tagged buildings and damaged property in the area, police said.

Thirty-eight people were arrested, including 15 for felony allegations, said Los Angeles Police Department Officer Cleon Joseph.

By midnight, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) had responded to three vehicle fires, one vegetation fire and 15 rubbish fires within a half-mile radius of Staples Center, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

Eight people were injured and taken to hospitals, Humphrey said.

Humphrey, however, declined to describe the post-game trouble as a riot.

Police declared the incident as an "unlawful assembly".

An officer suffered a broken nose when he was hit in the face by something thrown at him, according to Police Chief Charlie Beck.

"As a matter of fact, we have a police officer injured with a broken nose from an object thrown," Beck said. "We've made multiple arrests, we used overwhelming force, we had a maximum number of police officers deployed here to clear out the crowds around Staples Center, and we're still in the process of doing that," he said.

At least one police car was damaged, Beck said.

No major problems were reported in other parts of Los Angeles, he said.

"So far, things are going well. L.A. Live completely safe, Staples Center completely safe, the immediate area around Staples Center also completely safe," said Beck.

Source: Xinhua


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