Lakers’ Big Win Sparks L.A. Rioting

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John Edward Linden/Beateworks/Corbis

At this point it’s a tradition: the Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA Championship, the fans riot downtown.

Despite a heavy police presence, which was publicized yesterday by Mayor Antonio Villagairosa and police chief Charlie Beck, fans who were ecstatic over the Lakers’ Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics met near the Staples Center, throwing bottles and debris at cops, and setting fire along arteries leading from the arena.

This marks the third time violence erupted after a Lakers championship win. In 2000 and 2009, post-victory riots broke out resulting in extensive property damage.

The Los Angeles Times reported the violence actually began before the first half of the game was even over, then spread to pockets of the city. Police said there were multiple injuries, but no deaths, although one person was beaten unconscious. One police officer suffered a broken nose and a dozen people were arrested for vandalism and other public disturbances.

To disperse the crowd, police fired non-lethal rounds at revelers, and most of the unrest was broken up by 11 p.m., officials say.