LOS ANGELES—Police investigators are using Twitter and Facebook postings in hopes of identifying more of the suspects responsible for violence and destruction that occurred downtown after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship at Staples Center.
Investigators also plan to use images taken from police videos, area surveillance cameras and television reports. It could take months to identify more suspects.
After Thursday’s victory over the Boston Celtics, people started fires, rocked cars, smashed windows and threw objects at fans and officers. One taxi cab was torched.
Lt. Paul Vernon said there were 45 arrests so far—22 for felonies. Nine were arrested for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, three for inciting a riot, six for vandalism, two for arson and two for throwing objects at vehicles.
Five of those arrested were juveniles.
Vernon told the Los Angeles Times that cell phones and video have “in essence deputized the public” in fighting crime.
Using a YouTube video showing people setting fire to the taxi cab, the Fire Department arson squad asked for public help in finding the culprits. Investigators say they’ve gotten several solid tips.
The Los Angeles city attorney’s office said Monday that 10 people will be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges, including inciting a riot, unlawful assembly after being told to disperse, throwing flammable objects and assault.
Attorney Chuck Goldenberg said one of the cases involved a man accused of setting fire to a Boston Celtics jersey.
Another man was arrested for allegedly throwing a bicycle at a police officer.