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L.A. County sheriff's deputies arrest 6 in post-Lakers game unrest

June 18, 2010 | 10:27 am
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Friday it had arrested six people in East L.A. during the unrest that followed the Lakers victory over the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, including two on charges of felony assault on a peace officer.

A total of 300 sheriff's personnel were deployed to East L.A. from across the department, including patrol deputies and specialized units such as mounted enforcement details, gang enforcement teams and undercover detectives.

In addition to the two arrested on assault charges, three were arrested on charges of failure to disperse, including one who also was booked in connection with harming a Sheriff Department's horse. The sixth person was arrested on a charge of obstructing a police officer in the performance of his duties. One deputy suffered an injured hand.

Sheriff's Department officials said they would review TV and Internet images that could result in additional arrests.

Here's a rundown on Thursday night's activity from the Sheriff's Department:

-- Around 9:20 p.m., glass bottles were being thrown at firefighters and deputies at Whittier Boulevard and Clela Avenue. At that point, the Sheriff's department declared an unlawful assembly and issued, via loudspeaker, an order to disperse.

-- Officials said there several significant incidents after the order, including a surging crowd on Whittier Boulevard, with some throwing glass bottles at the sheriff's response squad, which deployed and began moving the crowd down Whittier Boulevard to disperse the people and "reduce the unlawful and violent behavior of some members of the mob."

-- In another incident, while deputies were moving a crowd, someone attempted to strike a deputy with a large pole. Deputies fired non-lethal weapons at the suspect, who fled the scene after being hit. A suspect who was obstructing deputies as they tried to move the crowd was taken to the ground and arrested.

-- In the same incident, a man said he was hit by a projectile, although it was not immediately known whether the injury was the result of non-lethal projectiles fired by authorities or objects thrown from the crowd. The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.

-- Just before midnight, the crowds had dispersed and the area returned to normal. Deputies surveyed the damage, and at least one vehicle was partially burned and one sheriff's radio car had a cracked front windshield.

-- Sheriff's officials said they did not make any arrests downtown, where more than 100 Sheriff's Department personnel were handling rail and bus policing during the game.

-- In a 9:18 p.m. incident at 11th and Flower streets, a bicyclist was hospitalized in a collision with a sheriff's radio car. The vehicle was stationary, and the bicyclist ran into the car, officials said.

-- A bus carrying 15 to 20 people was rushed by a mob.

"The Sheriff's Department and the LAPD showed tremendous restraint when you consider the hundreds of people who were acting out in violent ways," said Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker. "There were few injuries and minimal damage to property."

-- Andrew Blankstein