L.A. Kings: Police brace for post-game revelry if team wins
With the Los Angeles Kings poised to capture the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history, LAPD officials are again urging Angelenos to be safe in their post-game celebrations or face the enforcer.
The Kings enter the 5 p.m. game, to be played at Staples Center, with a 3-2 lead over the New Jersey Devils in the best-of-seven series.
City officials have already installed barriers on the streets surrounding Staples Center as they brace for the massive influx of fans expected this evening inside the center and in the surrouding bars and eateries. Officials warn that once the area reaches capacity, they will deny entry; and they are also warning people not to buy tickets from scalpers, after a series of fake ticket scams at recent games.
Capt. Horace Frank said the LAPD understands a Kings' victory is something to celebrate but cautioned that the department would take a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal behavior.
"As it is a closeout game, we are going to have a pretty large contingent of officers present and highly visible," Frank said. "They are not there to suppress celebrations, but they are there to suppress crime."
Frank said it would be a refined version of what the department did last week with a closeout game. AEG, which owns Staples Center and L.A. Live, has worked closely to plan security for the playoff games in L.A. There were four arrests at the last game.
Officials are hoping to avoid a reenactment of the car-burning and window-breaking by crowds rioting outside Staples Center when the Lakers won their most recent championship in 2010. Officers donned riot gear and, in some cases, fired rubber bullets to disperse crowds. Multiple injuries were reported by the end of the night.
Monday night's game will also mean several bus diversions throughout Los Angeles.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Los Angeles police officers arrest a man Wednesday for allegedly stealing hats out of a store at L.A. Live during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times