With a win, the Lakers clinch another NBA title. And that, police are all too aware, could set the stage for the looting and rioting by overzealous fans who have marred past celebrations. Police are less concerned about a Celtics victory. For whatever reason, they say, defeated fans at past sports events have shown far less interest in causing trouble.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck elaborated somewhat at an afternoon news conference Wednesday. Beck said "extraordinary measures will be in place," adding that the deployment would be "four or five times larger" than last year's response and include hundreds of patrol officers and specialized tactical units on foot, horse, bike and motorcycle.
"We will let the demeanor of the crowd determine how we react," Paysinger said. "For the vast majority of the people, they are here to have a good time; and for us to pre-determine the night as anything else is not a good idea. However, if there is a group that demonstrates any type of lawlessness, we are fully prepared to deal with them quickly and completely. These kinds of situations have a contagious quality to them and we cannot let it go."