Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Prosecutors charge 10 in Lakers celebration unrest after Finals victory

June 21, 2010 |  1:06 pm

Officials with the Los Angeles City Attorney's office said Monday that they have charged 10 people in connection with the mayhem that ensued outside Staples Center after the Lakers' NBA Finals victory Thursday night.

One of the vandalism/arson suspects poses for a 
picture by a taxi cab set on fire by the violent crowd outside the 
Staples Center Thursday night.At least 42 people were arrested Thursday on suspicion of crimes that included arson, assault on a peace officer, battery, public drunkenness, inciting a riot, disturbing the peace, throwing objects at a vehicle, resisting arrest and vandalism, as well as for outstanding warrants.

Of those, 10 people were charged Monday by the City Attorney's office. Among those were a man accused of setting fire to a Boston Celtics basketball jersey; another accused of throwing a rock at police officer's head, just missing the officer; and one who is alleged to have hit an officer with a bicycle after heaving it at him, said Senior Asst. City Attorney Chuck Goldenberg.

"These people took a very proud and happy moment for the people of the city of Los Angeles and attempted to turn it into a night of violence and mayhem," Goldenberg said. "Fortunately, the police were on the scene to prevent it from getting too far out of hand.

City prosecutors stressed that they would be taking "a very hard stand," seeking the maximum jail time of six months to a year or more in county jail "depending on the circumstances and the criminal record of any one defendant."

During the celebration, dozens in the crowd became unruly, hurling bottles and other objects at police, breaking windows of businesses, setting trash bins and vehicles on fire along Figueroa Street and dragging a driver out a bus.

The arrest totals were was double the number from 2009, when 20 people were booked for similar offenses, setting trash cans and trees on fire. Officers ordered the crowd to disperse, but groups of young men and women refused, stomping on car windshields, throwing rocks through windows and looting stores.

The City Attorney's office said it would continue to review reports of cases referred for possible filings.

"It's likely there will be additional filings," Goldenberg said. "We have 10 and more may be coming."

--Andrew Blankstein

Photo: LAFD