Lakers fans clash with cops during championship celebrations in Los Angeles
Celebrations over the Lakers’ NBA championship win descended into looting and violent clashes with cops in Los Angeles early Monday — with a fire started inside a city bus and a man’s hand blown off by fireworks, according to reports.
Despite pleas to stay away because of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of fans swamped downtown LA after their team’s win in Miami, with raucous celebrations outside the Staples Center.
But the joy turned ugly as large groups stayed downtown for hours — with local television station KABC capturing a police squad car completely surrounded by a mob, with some kicking it as it backed up slowly.
Other footage shared by local media showed people jumping on top of a trashed city bus that was completely covered in graffiti — with a fire started on the seats inside.
KABC also filmed huge plumes of smoke from several sports cars doing tire burnouts, while others did dangerous “donuts” in the crowds — including one with a woman lying on the front of the car.
Fans celebrated even as fireworks repeatedly went off around them — with one reveler taken to hospital after fireworks “burned off at least one of his hands,” the local station reported. It was not clear if he was injured lighting the firework or hit by one lit nearby.
The LAPD deemed it an unlawful assembly — and fired beanbag rounds at violent crowds throwing champagne bottles at officers, the Los Angeles Times said.
KABC also reported seeing a “line of folks in handcuffs being taken in.”
The California Highway Patrol closed freeway exit ramps into downtown to stop more fans arriving, the LA Times said.
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