Emeute à Los Angeles juin 2009

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Lakers win sparks Los Angeles rioting after Kobe Bryant brilliance

15 juin 2009

Hundreds celebrated in the streets outside Staples Center after the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA title win over the Orlando Magic last night, with some revellers damaging police cars, throwing rocks and bottles at officers and starting bonfires.

At least five members of the crowd that split off to surrounding streets were arrested after police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, police spokeswoman Mary Grady said.

Two police cruisers were damaged and reinforcement officers were called in from throughout the city to help disperse the crowd.

Aerial television footage showed people jumping on a police car, rocking vehicles attempting to pass through the crowd and throwing flares set up by police. No injuries were reported.

A garage was looted and several cars and a news van were vandalised, said police chief William Bratton.

Bratton commended officers for showing restraint despite « a lot of provocation from a number of knuckleheads. It’s not easy to stand there when cowards in the middle of the crowd are throwing rocks and bottles at them. »

Across the country in Florida, the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game 5 of the best-of-seven match NBA finals to win their 15th championship.

The game was not shown at the Staples Center as it had been in previous years, but revellers from surrounding bars and restaurants and nearby neighbourhoods descended on the area around the Lakers’ home for a celebration.

The Lakers’ win ended Kobe Bryant’s seven-year wait for another NBA championship. Bryant now has his fourth NBA title, and the Lakers coach, Phil Jackson, a record 10th. The shooting guard scored 30 points and Pau Gasol added 14 and 15 rebounds as the Lakers earned their 15th title.

With his fourth championship, Bryant finally stepped out of the shadow of former team-mate Shaquille O’Neal’s and made a strong case to be considered the league’s best player since Michael Jordan.

Bryant, who averaged 32.4 points and was named finals MVP, said the speculation about whether he could win a title without O’Neal had got to him.

« It was like Chinese water torture, » he said. « I would cringe every time. I was just like, it’s a challenge I’m just going to have to accept because there’s no way I’m going to argue it. You can say it until you’re blue in the face and rationalise it until you’re blue in the face, but it’s not going anywhere until you do something about it.

« I think we as a team answered the call because they understood the challenge that I had, and we all embraced it. »

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O’Neal, now with the Phoenix Suns, was glad to see Bryant win another title.

« Congratulations kobe, u deserve it, » O’Neal said on his Twitter page. « You played great. Enjoy it my man enjoy it. »

Jackson, who won six league titles in the 1990s with Jordan in Chicago, now has won four with Los Angeles and broken a tie with the legendary Boston coach Red Auerbach as the most successful coach in finals history.

« I’ll smoke the cigar tonight in memory of Red, » Jackson said in reference to the late Auerbach’s traditional victory celebration. « He was a great guy. »

The relationship between Bryant and Jackson had become strained under the expectation associated with the Lakers.

Jackson, who once called Bryant « a selfish player », now sees the 30-year-old in a different light.

« He’s learned how to become a leader in a way in which people want to follow him, » Jackson said. « That’s really important for him to have learned that because he knew that he had to give to get back in return, and so he’s become a giver rather than just a guy that a demanding leader. That’s been great for him and great to watch. »

After the final horn, Bryant leaped into the air and was quickly engulfed by his team-mates, who bounced around the floor of Amway Arena.

« It finally felt like a big old monkey was off my back, » he said. « It felt so good to be able to have this moment. For this moment to be here and to reflect back on the season and everything that you’ve been through, it’s top of the list, man. »

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Riots flare after Lakers victory

16 juin 2009

Eighteen people have been arrested and eight police officers injured after violence erupted as ecstatic Los Angeles Lakers fans celebrated their side taking out their 15th NBA title against the Orlando Magic on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the LA Police Department said 13 officers, sheriff’s vehicles and six buses were damaged in the celebratory riots.

The incident – which mainly took place near the Lakers home at the Staples Centre in downtown LA on Monday (NZT) – happened when thousands of fans gathered in front of the home venue to celebrate the Lakers 99-86 win over the Magic .

Police later broke up the crowd as the celebrations started to turn ugly – with cars being vandalised and fires lit – a shoe store and petrol station were also reported to have been looted in the mayhem.

Fans, who gathered at traffic intersections, were also alleged to have rocked cars from side to side as they waited at traffic lights.

Some officers were also reported to be injured when fans hurled bricks and bottles.

Violence also flared in Los Angeles after the Lakers NBA finals victories in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

~ par Alain Bertho sur 16 juin 2009.

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