A fan celebrates at L.A. Live after the Lakers win a second straight NBA title. Thousands came downtown only to be locked out of the plaza. (John W. Adkisson, Los Angeles Times / June 16, 2010)
Violence erupted within 30 minutes of the game’s end as rowdy fans poured out of area bars and, shortly after, the 19,000 ticket-holders inside Staples began to emerge. Phalanxes of LAPD officers successfully funneled the tightly packed revelers away from the venue, but bands of mostly young men grew aggressive and brazen as they moved into the surrounding blocks.
A typical scene played out on Figueroa Street, where revelers tore down a traffic sign, ripped open newspaper racks and lighted the papers on fire. As police in riot gear approached, the crowd hurled unopened cans of energy drinks at them. Several men stomped on an SUV parked on the street, breaking its windows.
Police chased the roving groups for about two hours, pushing them farther afield until they dispersed and relative calm returned.