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Phone videos help LAPD w/Lakers riot arrests

June 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Just about everyone has a mobile phone with a camera attached and that's certainly been a great help to the LAPD following last Thursdays victory.The LAPD has been getting a lot of e-mails and they are also searching the Internet. They're finding people breaking the law caught on photos and videos.

After the Lakers took the championship, fans around Staples Center started to celebrate. For some fans, however, celebrating turned to breaking the law by setting fires and smashing windows, and much of it was caught by mobile phone cameras, which is good news for police.

"The age of the video phone and camera phone has really deputized the entire community into becoming part of the police," said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon.

The LAPD is going through hundreds of photos and videos on the Internet. They find no shortage of people who post images of themselves breaking the law.

"It's absolutely amazing that the idea that people's ethics or morals can be so low that they would want to get out and broadcast and brag about jumping on someone's taxi and taking away their livelihood," Vernon said.

A particular video clearly shows a taxi being vandalized and later set on fire. Staples Center is in L.A. City Councilmember Jan Perry's district. She says her office is getting a number of e-mails from her constituents with videos and photos, and she's turning them over to investigators.

"Clearly shows people, their faces, the license plates on their vehicles, or their T-shirts and some of them are just full facial shots with great resolution. It's kind of surprising to me that people are dumb enough to do that these days. Everybody has a camera phone," said Perry.

LAPD officers say they will prosecute anybody they can identify.

"So they know next time they go down there, there's a good chance that they will end up being arrested, if not then, then sometime later," said Vernon.

The LAPD has already arrested more than 40 people and they say more arrests will be made.


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