Clockwise: Smashed windows at the Watermarke; Richard Meruelo giving us the finger after his condo window was broken at Grand Lofts; County Sheriff directing fans away from Staples Center; taxi on fire
What is it about South Park? Blame the proximity of the Staples Center, but once again, celebrating Lakers fans went on a tear in this neighborhood, smashing in windows of both condos and cars after tonight’s basketball game. Among the casualties: The Watermarke at 705 W. 9th, where witnesses said the lone security guard faced off against a group that smashed lobby windows, and Grand Lofts at 330 West 11th, where the windows of developer Richard Meruelo’s ground floor condo were smashed (he flipped us the bird when we peered inside his unit via his broken window. But we probably deserved it!) And sacre bleu, the hooligans even went after the under-construction Concerto tower. "They kicked down the [construction] fence and kicked over the port-o-pottys,” said Josh Slockim, one of the Concerto workers who’d stayed in downtown to watch the game.
As Fox News reported, "pockets of violence were reported in the neighborhoods near Staples Center," and much of the violence had to deal with crowds lighting fires and throwing bottles, according to the Los Angeles Times, which also reported that "at least one person was beaten as fights broke out on Flower Street near Olympic Boulevard."
And Slockim and three other Concerto workers witnessed one of the worst scenes: A mob attacked a taxi at Flower and 7th, lighting the vehicle on fire, according to the men, who said the driver ran out of the car (long YouTube video here). "They were using newspapers and t-shirts to light the car on fire," said Harry Donihue, another Concerto construction worker.
Meanwhile, down the street on Hope, Omar Angel Valelinzuela was trying to get the dents out of the roof of his car. Staring at the different shoe prints on the top of his car, he figured three different people had stomped on the top of his vehicle. 'It'll cost money," he said, banging his hand against the underside of his roof. Right now, ABC7 is reporting that at least 12 people were arrested. The number may get bigger. UPDATE: Now the number is 37.
And here's LAPD spokeswoman Mary Grady talking to City News Service: "It’s unfortunate, because you had a great game, and you had a great victory by the Lakers, and unfortunately some people decide that this is how they’re going to celebrate. We are doing everything we can, we are making multiple arrests, we have a number of people that have been arrested for vandalism, we have people that have been arrested for inciting to riot, and of course for public drunkenness.”
Meanwhile, even the British press is mocking us.