People were reveling in the streets of East Los Angeles after the Dodgers claimed their first World Series title in more than three decades Tuesday night — despite the pandemic and a large police presence in the area.
L.A. skies lit up with fireworks as soon as the Boys in Blue beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 before a socially distanced crowd in Arlington, Texas.
People were seen gathering along Whittier Boulevard in the area of Atlantic Boulevard, with large crowds blocking the streets and police in riot gear moving through the throng.
At Whittier Boulevard and Simmons Avenue, and the intersection of Olympic and Atlantic boulevards, the streets were shrouded in smoke due to a large amount of cars doing burnouts as people stood on the corners and looked on.
In some spots, police cars were stationed as blockades.
L.A. Metro warned that its bus services may be delayed or detoured due to the street celebrations. Rail service, however, was functioning normally.
This is the Dodgers’ seventh World Series title, and sixth since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. Despite back-to-back trips to the World Series in 2017 and 2018, this is the first time the team has won the championship since 1988.
The only other time the MLB and NBA championship teams have been from the same city, it was again Los Angeles, in 1988.
Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore and public health officials had urged Angelenos to celebrate at home due to the pandemic.
Earlier Tuesday, Moore said officers were being sent to Dodger Stadium and other areas where they expected fans to flock “to ensure that people are acting lawfully,” and he said their response to illegal activity would be swift, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“There will be no tolerance for violence,” he said in Tuesday’s Police Commission meeting. “There is no room in Los Angeles for people to commit vandalism.”
Multiple people suffered severe injuries amid the Lakers championship celebration downtown due to police projectiles. One man told KTLA he lost eight teeth and a chunk of his lower lip when struck with a rubber bullet, while the L.A. Times reported another man’s eye “exploded” after he was hit by a police projectile.
Earlier this week, Barbara Ferrer, the county’s top public health official, said fans gathering to watch recent Lakers and Dodgers events may have helped increase the spread of COVID-19.
“I think it’s really wonderful that we have both incredible teams with so much talent,” she said. “The downside of this is that during the pandemic, some of the things we’ve done in the past just don’t make sense.”
Positive cases in L.A. County increased this month from an average of 940 per day to nearly 1,200 per day last week.