Lakers melee tests new LAPD policies — officers meet the challenge

By Corina Knoll, Andrew Blankstein, and Richard Winton
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — As the mood of the crowd outside the Staples Center turned quickly from jubilation over a Lakers victory to something more destructive, Los Angeles police knew they had to finely calibrate their response to avoid the public relations debacles of the department's recent past.

Officers had to control a group of "knuckleheads," in the words of Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton, yet avoid trampling the rights of hundreds of people who turned out to celebrate the Lakers' first championship win in seven years.

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