Veronica Hendrix

*Game 7 was amazing.

The Lakers were on the ropes for most of the game. The Celtics were taking them to school and playing like they had their 18th title in the bagpipe. Oh but the 4th quarter the Lakers turned it around and like many have said, the frenetic and adoring cheers of the crowd literally “willed them to victory.”  That’s LA for you. When we unite our collective consciousness we can do anything. And we love our Lakers.

Well the question that begs to be asked is, who where those silhouettes, shadows and shysters who within moments of Los Angeles clinching its 16th NBA championship title  took to the streets and caused post-game mayhem and civil unrest in the City of Angels? It was an assault against victory. Surely they were not Laker fans. Who were they?

Yeah, there are a lot of Laker haters in this town and across the nation. And if you ask them why, some say they never got over “the breakup” meaning the divorce that occurred when Kobe and Shaq went their separate ways due to irreconcilable differences. That was evident from the comments of a few patrons watching the game at a local watering hole in Culver City, Los Angeles.

Yet some said it’s not the Lakers that they hate, it’s the fans and the conundrum between victory and violence exhibited in this town last year and that was imminent on that championship playoff night if the Lakers won. It’s “senseless and inane and ever so LA.”   Oh yeah, that’s what was said as the beer was flowing from the tap and wine was being generously poured in oversized goblets.

What’s the retort? Well it’s not LA. It’s the actions of a few that tarnish the good will of the countless many whose  goal it is to celebrate responsibly. There exists a faction of folk in this town who are hell bent on finding, creating, and manufacturing an opportunity to cause mayhem and the destruction of property and even life  because collective celebration translates into chaos in their minds. These are not fans.

In the case of the Lakers victory they did it in light of LAPD’s heightened presence around the Staples Center and its periphery. That was smart.  Their night of ill-revelry was indeed “senseless and inane” and included breaking windows, throwing objects at police, vandalizing public and private property.   The night was not complete without shaking the cab of 41-year-old Ethiopian immigrant taxi cab driver Abraham Teferi, pulling him from his seat, and setting on fire the car that has been his livelihood for the past 7 years. Watching his living up in frames must have been surreal, heart wrenching, unimaginable, and frightening.

Guess who else was watching? The media and countless spectators with the latest cell phones and flip cameras. They caught the “event” on video and aired it on television and uploaded it on YouTube. In fact LAPD has released  on YouTube video of “revelers” smashing and setting Teferi’s taxi on fire. They are asking the public for help identifying those in the video. Nearly 50 people have been arrested so far. LAPD has received over 200,000 views and they have received several solid tips.  Now that’s LA.

And Mr. Teferi? Well he’s going to be o.k. and back in business real soon. The Staples Center owner AEG has come to the rescue. They have given him a check for $10,000 to help with cost of replacing his cab. Now that’s so LA.

(If you have comments about Veronica’s View, email them to [email protected]).