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LAPD on alert after Lakers beat Celtics

June 17, 2010 |  8:56 pm
Fans were pouring out of Staples Center on Thursday night after the Lakers beat the Celtics as hundreds of Los Angeles police officers saturated the area to prevent the type of violence that erupted after previous championship games.

The Los Angeles Police Department had assigned uniformed officers to patrol the area in cars, on foot and on horseback. Plainclothes officers were also planning to mix in with the crowds and watch for any unruly behavior by overzealous revelers, officials said.

LAPD officials had also set up a "field jail" south of Staples Center to process those who were arrested.

After the Lakers' championship game last year, the crowd outside Staples Center turned rowdy. Fans set trash cans and trees on fire as officers ordered crowds to disperse. But young men and women refused to leave, stomping on car windshields, throwing rocks through windows and looting stores.

Violence also erupted after the Lakers' 2000 championship victory over the Indiana Pacers. Fans around Staples Center torched police cars and looted and vandalized businesses with seeming impunity. At times, police stood back as young men -- many in Lakers jerseys -- threw trash cans and road-construction barricades through windows and set fire to vehicles, including two LAPD patrol cars.

-- Robert J. Lopez