Law enforcement deals with ‘unruly’ crowds after Dodgers’ World Series victory

People use their phones to record a car doing burnouts.
Fans watch a car do burnouts in downtown Los Angeles after the Dodgers’ World Series win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police made at least eight arrests and declared unlawful assemblies in downtown L.A. and Echo Park to clear out people who had blocked streets and set off fireworks after the Dodgers won the World Series on Tuesday night.

At least 10 arrests were made by L.A. County sheriff’s deputies amid separate celebrations in East Los Angeles.

For the record:

9:04 AM, Oct. 28, 2020An earlier version of this article indicated Ismael Servin was 21. He is 29.

Crowds gathered across the city to celebrate, mostly peacefully. But in some places, the situation got tense.

In Echo Park, people threw objects at police, who responded by shooting hard-foam projectiles.

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A Dodgers fan rides atop a moving car, arms raised, on a street.
Fans celebrate after the Dodgers defeat the Tampa Bay Rays to win their first World Series since 1988.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

In downtown, video showed a crowd blocking a big-rig truck and taking merchandise from it. Several businesses were also reported vandalized.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore, in a Wednesday interview on ABC7, denounced the events as mayhem that were driven by a few people who wanted to “wreak havoc” but facilitated by many others who were “assisting or at least standing by and cheering on this lawlessness.”

“Right now we are embarrassing ourselves, in a sports celebration, across the world,” Moore said. “The story is not that the Dodgers won. The story is the vandalism, the looting and how the celebration was taken over by thugs.”

Officer Lizeth Lomeli, an L.A. Police Department spokeswoman, said Wednesday morning that police had arrested one person on suspicion of assaulting an officer, four on suspicion of looting — a charge related to burglary or theft during an emergency — and three on suspicion of reckless driving.

Lomeli said three officers suffered minor injuries. She said she was not aware of any serious injuries to people in the crowds.

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Police had hoped to avoid a repeat of the problems that occurred in downtown after the Lakers’ victory earlier this month, when celebrations turned rowdy and more than 75 people were arrested, the vast majority of them on suspicion of failing to disperse after police declared the gathering unlawful.

Several people were badly injured, including by police projectiles, as officers cleared the Lakers celebration.

Dodgers fans took to the streets and provided Los Angeles with a hearty fireworks show as the team won its first World Series since 1988.

Preparing for a possible Dodgers victory, police had closed off the main entrance to Dodger Stadium, as well as Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles.

Crowds hit the streets in several locations after the Dodgers’ first World Series win since 1988. Much of it was in good fun, with some parents bringing their children to enjoy the historic moment.

Fans in L.A., some in Dodgers jerseys, crowd together near a car, taking photos as smoke billows from its tires.
Fans gather in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the Dodgers’ victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 to win the World Series.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

“This is the best we’ve felt in a long time,” said Ismael Servin, 29, standing on Hubbard Street and Belden Avenue in East Los Angeles as smoke billowed from the tires of a pickup revving its engine in the intersection. “In 2020, we needed this.”

Just 4 years old when the Dodgers last won a championship, Fernando Hernandez Jr. stood outside his mother’s home in Boyle Heights in a delirium of happiness, clutching a half-empty bottle of Champagne.

“Pandemic champions, baby!” he shouted over the honks of cars rushing past on Soto Street. Queen’s “We Are the Champions” belted from a loudspeaker.

An officer holds a weapon, and another pulls a man in a Dodgers jersey as police on horseback trot past.
LAPD officers on horseback move in to disperse the crowds in downtown Los Angeles after the World Series win.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
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Shortly after 11 p.m., the LAPD said it was dealing with scattered problems.

“We’re seeing some large, at times unruly crowds, taking over intersections in various parts of the city. We urge all Angelenos to stay home if possible. If you must be out, please exercise caution. Should you encounter a large crowd, do not attempt to drive through it,” the department said on Twitter.

Police cross an L.A. street, carrying weapons for shooting projectiles.
Police disperse crowds in downtown Los Angeles celebrating the Dodgers winning the World Series.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Videos showed police clashing with others on the streets of downtown as officers tried to clear the area after midnight.

Amid reports of people breaking into stores and stealing, police declared an unlawful assembly in downtown shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday, closing off several blocks from West 8th Street to Pico Boulevard and Figueroa Street to Broadway.

Lexis-Olivier Ray, a multimedia journalist reporting forL.A. Taco, said he was near West 8th and Flower streets when officers suddenly rushed forward and pinned him against a car.

Ray feared he would be dragged underneath the car, which was slowly creeping forward, if the driver sped off.

The officers forced him to the ground, then released him, as he screamed that he was a member of the press and filmed the altercation. Some of the officers should have known who he was, because he had introduced himself to a supervisor moments before, he said.

Ray, a Black man and a freelancer, said there has been a “different tone” to how the LAPD has dealt with crowds and treated journalists lately — especially journalists of color who aren’t affiliated with major news outlets.

Last month, KPCC radio reporter Josie Huang was slammed to the ground and arrested by L.A. County sheriff’s deputies while covering a protest, despite wearing a press badge and stating her media affiliation.

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“It’s really difficult to be a reporter right now,” Ray said.

Across town, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also clashed with crowds and shot projectiles to disperse people.

Deputy Trina Schrader, a department spokeswoman, said Wednesday that at least 10 people were arrested — two on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and eight on suspicion of failing to disperse.

The arrests came after “unruly crowds began to flood every major intersection” along Whittier and Olympic boulevards, Schrader said.

After deputies gave a dispersal order around 9:30 p.m., people at Whittier Boulevard and Amalia Avenue began throwing rocks at the deputies, Schrader said. Deputies responded at about 10:47 p.m. with “less lethal” projectile weapons, she said.

The East L.A. crowds dispersed by about 1 a.m., Schrader said.

Crowds also gathered elsewhere, including near the sheriff’s Century station in Lynwood.

In Huntington Park, several hundred pedestrians and many cars converged at Pacific Boulevard and Florence Avenue, lighting fireworks and celebrating in the street, the Sheriff’s Department said.

That crowd dispersed by midnight, and no arrests were made.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday night’s events were “not bad,” despite the 10 arrests.

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The department closed down Whittier Boulevard and other areas, which helped prevent large crowds from gathering.

“The majority of people went and they behaved and they celebrated peacefully, and that’s all we want,” Villanueva said.

He said there was no reported property damage in areas patrolled by his agency.

Fans wave Dodgers flags from the back of a pickup truck.
Fans wave Dodgers flags from the back of a pickup as they travel along Sunset Boulevard on Tuesday night.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
A man holds a firework shooting out sparks as others record him on their phones.
Dodger fans in Los Angeles light fireworks behind a car doing doughnuts after the World Series.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
People block an intersection as a car spinning its tires creates a wall of smoke.
People block the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Figueroa Street as a car spinning its tires creates a wall of smoke.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Fireworks explode in the sky above a fan in a Bellinger jersey.
Fireworks light up the sky in downtown Los Angeles after Game 6.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)