Police in Boston and LA are preparing for the kinds of crowds that turned past celebrations into excuses to riot.
Police in Boston and Los Angeles are preparing for the kinds of crowds that turned past celebrations into excuses to riot.
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Memories of last year's NBA title are fresh in LA. And some of those memories are ugly: rock and bottle throwing, vandals running wild and looting.
In 2000, after the Lakers won their first NBA title in 12 years, fans and jerks masquerading as fans in Lakers gear rioted outside Staples Center. Two police cars were destroyed and other vehicles were damaged.
Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots championship celebrations also have turned chaotic, and deadly. With that in mind, Boston police mobilized Tuesday night, closing some streets and targeting a few sports bars.
Los Angeles will deploy hundreds of extra officers for Thursday night's Game 7, scheduled to start around 6 p.m. Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday that he hopes to dissuade fans from congregating outside Staples Center after the game.
County Sheriff Lee Baca said he has notified hundreds of deputies to be on hand in case the Police Department needs backup.
"Our hope is that the people of Los Angeles will understand that the best way to celebrate a victory -- and there will be a victory -- on Thursday night is to do so in a way that respects this community," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
That didn't happen after the Lakers defeated the Magic in Orlando in 2009.
A shoe store was broken into and cleaned out of its stock; a gas station was looted; a Metro Blue Line train was damaged; a dozen LAPD vehicles and a sheriff's vehicle were damaged; and six Metro buses were damaged. Several LAPD officers were hurt, and more than a dozen people were arrested.
On Wednesday, after a year-long probe, investigators in Los Angeles and Riverside counties served 31 warrants and made arrests targeting a tagging crew believed to be responsible for vandalizing a bus.