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Lakers celebration needs to be about city pride, not police protection, Sandy Banks says. What do you think?


Times columnist Sandy Banks was in downtown L.A. Thursday night when the Lakers beat the Celtics. She believes the antics of a bunch of losers shouldn't obscure the patience, goodwill and high spirits of the thousands of fans who ventured downtown for a communal party and wound up being treated like pariahs.

ShoutThey were shooed away from Staples Center, locked out of L.A. Live, swept off sidewalks and herded onto street corners, where their only way to gauge the Lakers' progress was through the body language of the folks they glimpsed through the windows of restaurants that they'd arrived too late to patronize.

I spent the game wandering near the arena with them — young married couples, packs of boisterous guys, families with kids wrapped in Lakers gear; multiethnic, economically diverse throngs whose street-corner celebrations were all whoops and high-fives and hugs.

In her column, Sandy Banks laments how the mood in downtown Thursday night became all about protection and not about celebration. She praises the police who largely kept order. But in her video above, she calls on the city to figure out a better way for the L.A. to savior the Lakers' victory.

Tell us what you think by commenting below.

Photo: Fans celebrate at L.A. Live after the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Thousands came downtown only to be locked out of the plaza. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times 

Comments () | Archives (17)

The city needs to do a better job of monitoring these losers from getting near the Staples Center in the first place. Close the streets off to everyone but ticket holders 2 miles in each direction. Only allow those in bars and restaurants to stay. Don't let these losers near that area period. They are making all Latinos look bad. The Latino community's leaders must go on TV and denounce the violence that is being committed and portrayed on news channels all across the nation. As someone who is married to one and has a child who is half Latino, I worry that all Latinos are going to be stereotyped as troublemakers.

The reason LA cant't do this Sandy is that history proves that many of the Laker fans are low life punks and thugs who will take any opportunity to riot, and to create mayhem and violence. The LA Live area is beautiful and a natural venue for the kind of grand viewing party you suggest. But I can guarantee you that if people in LA, particularly the gangeros and street thugs who serve as Laker fans, were allowed to congregate in very large numbers there would be a meltdown of epic proportions. Other cities have not been immune to this kind of victory violence but Thursday night's "celebrations" only served to remind me how thin that blue line is in this city against anarchy and lawlessness. I love this city but things can go from palm trees and tranquility to absolute chaos in the blare of a final buzzer, the rumble an earthquake that cripples the city, or in the alarm of some perceived ethnic injustice. Let's hope our better angels always prevail in this the City of our Mother.

The problem is that the business community needs to be protected from vandalism and thefts. High saturation of police is the only way to do this. It only takes a couple of incidents to ruin an event.


After watching your video, I suggest you ask the young men that turned a celebration into an ugly mob riot. You ask why there is so much police protection. Just watch the recent history here and nationwide of the ignorant mobs that think that a sport event is an excuse to become lawless. If the after party of a win never turned ugly we could deploy the officers somewhere else. You are railing against the ugly side of big cities. We have individuals that will be lawless when they are given the opportunity. This has been the history of the mankind.

After reading this article, I've come to the conclusion that the LAPD was heavy-handed in their activities. This is a city that belongs to the people, not the police. This is not a police state and the cops need to be put into the position of observers and not harassers. The Staples Center should have put up a big screen T.V. for people outside of the stadium to watch the game live. They should have set up a place outside the stadium for fans to watch and celebrate as well. This is the problem with L.A. and the political leadership. Always looking for ways to restrict people's freedoms. That's not progressive, it's regressive. You can't tailgate anywhere, do anything of fun. They need to find ways for the fans and citizens to enjoy themselves without all these restrictions, that may have reduced the possibility of civil disobedience once the game was out.

I think the Laker's organization should be held financially responsible for ALL damages this year, as well as picking up the tab for a huge police presence next time!

During one of the early Shaq/Kobe runs, the game was shown on the jumbo-tron outside the arena. A large crowd, mostly peaceful, gathered outside to watch and cheer. Unfortunately, statistics being what they are and this being LA, the crowd included a good number of thugs who thought it fun to destroy cars, start fires, and vandalize stores. That, together with the mayhem that has followed subsequent victories, put a stop to any hopes of the large scale public event that Ms. Banks alludes too.

I agree that it would be great if there were a way to clear out the few that ruin these opportunities, and allow folks like Ms. Banks and her friends to gather with me and my friends and the other responsible Laker fans at Staples or LA live. Unfortunately, it'll never happen unless we can change the mindset that produces the few who think it's fun to perpetrate the kind of violence and destruction we saw the other day.

On a side note, I support the posture taken by law enforcement this time. The strong presence no doubt kept the damage from being worse.

I don't see why LAPD/FD could have come in and hose that crowd down. why did it take the car being set on fire and the PD finally swooping in to disperse the crowd. -

I disagree, Sandy. If I remember right, there were jumbotrons outside of Staples Center during the first Lakers championship at their new home, but rioting ensued, and it was decided that it happened because the jumbotrons attracted too many people, which created a mob mentality.
When the Lakers played at the Forum in Inglewood, there was nothing but parking lots and a cemetery around the venue. There was nothing to destroy, and there were never riots after championship victories because the only people at the Forum were the ticket holders, not people just hanging around the venue at sports bars with pent up energy to release.
I know our society is all about the mighty dollar, but they might have to think about turning all the televisions off in restaurants near Staples Center during the NBA finals. Then people will stay home to watch the game or more widely disperse throughout the city at other eating establishments.

Maybe the free ticketed Mayor could make it part of his "official" functions to speak to the crowd at the game, making his free ticket acceptable under the law, and serve to prevent post game violence. Where was the Mayor in setting the tone for celebrants?

i am all for the city to not have a parade to celebrate the lakers winn, and if the fans want a parade they should pay for the costs, its them who went out and damage tax payers city property

Are you for real? Wake up!This is L.A. not Plaza Sesamo. What if there were less Police presence? Peaceful celebration? Think again,more mayhem and destruction by lawless idiots.

Over 2 million Chicago fans hit the streets to celebrate the Blackhawk's victory and there were no riots and only 20 disorderly conduct arrests. What is different about LA fans?

I believe Sandy must have one too many a cocktail--

I would not get anywhere near this thing unless the National Guard was called out.

LA is a city poisoned with illegal immigration and horrific government. My office used to be at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and I dreaded making a wrong turn anywhere around there.

This is a third world city and thank God I do not work down town anymore!

Too much of a police presents? Seriously? Based on this city's history with the big riot and sports riots you can't have enough police.


I think the police presence wasn't large enough. Probably because Mr. Beck was too busy trying to figure out how LAPD must cope with AZ SB1070.

Ms. Banks is one of these "multi-culti" LOON-JOBS who does WAY more than stoop to conquer-- she wallows with the worst of the worst and then demands our unconditional approval and applause as she metaphorically spits in the faces of those who routinely save lives. Do you think she's hangin' tonight with the gray-haired Laker fan in the wheelchair? Naww...he's fulfilled his literary purpose.

They should have never put the Staples Center downtown... Gentrification is not happening as fast as they thought... Downtown is still downtown and at night is and always has been dangerous. Just because you can dress up downtown with blingy new buildings and dress up the streets doesn't mean the people adapt, the area's inhabitants are some of the most poor, homeless and unsavory denizens. No matter how much you dress it up, it's still downtown. And they came to party.


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