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Sacramento Kings' Zach Randolph arrested amid clash with police in Nickerson Gardens

The Sacramento Kings’ Zach Randolph was one of two men arrested during a clash that began Wednesday night between police and community members outside the Nickerson Gardens housing project in Watts, authorities said.

Randolph, 36, was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale. Also arrested was Stanley Walton, 43, on suspicion of carrying a gun as an ex-convict.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s records show that Randolph was arrested and held on $20,000 bail. The LAPD has given a different spelling of his name but confirmed that the NBA player had been arrested.

Randolph, a former All-Star, recently signed a two-year, $24-million free agent contract with the Sacramento Kings after eight seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies. He spent part of the 2008-09 season with the Clippers. He grew up in Indiana and attended Michigan State University, according to the NBA.

Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said he disagreed with the officers’ actions.

Harris-Dawson said he was “very disappointed” that police arrested the sports star on suspicion of a marijuana offense in an African American neighborhood hard hit by the war on drugs, especially when medical marijuana dispensaries continue to operate illegally.

The city plans to begin licensing recreational cannabis businesses by January, following a legalization vote last November.

“Here’s Zach Randolph, a 33-year-old man with a multimillion-dollar contract in a housing project, and our city is still arresting people with the idea, I guess, that he was selling weed to make ends meet,” said Harris-Dawson, who represents parts of South Los Angeles. “Especially when right down the street there’s a storefront with a green cross on it where people are illegally selling marijuana and they’re actually advertising on the Internet and the whole nine yards.

“We need to end that nonsense once and for all,” he said, adding that he planned to speak to police about the incident.

Five police vehicles and one sheriff’s vehicle were vandalized with smashed windows and slashed tires, said LAPD Officer Liliana Preciado, a department spokeswoman. No officers were injured. Police also recovered two guns, and impounded two vehicles and narcotics during the clash, she said.

A gang unit was in the area — near 112th Street and Zamora Avenue — about 10:20 p.m. Wednesday when officers observed a large crowd that was drinking, smoking marijuana, playing loud music and blocking the road, Preciado said.

Officers chased the group and detained two men. While they were detaining the men, the growing crowd became agitated and surrounded the officers, Preciado said.

Police units and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded and formed skirmish lines to disperse the crowd, she said. Police left the area about 1 a.m.

“There were no incidents as the skirmish lines were ongoing,” Preciado said.

Reach Sonali Kohli at Sonali.Kohli@latimes.com or on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli.


UPDATES:

7:50 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details about Randolph.

8:10 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details about Randolph's career.

7:05 p.m.: This article was updated with comment from Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

This article was originally published at 6:15 a.m.

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