Bay Area prepares for celebrations, possible riots following Warriors win

Confetti falls at Oracle Arena after Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 14, 2015. The Warriors won 104-91. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

OAKLAND (KRON/BCN) — With the Warriors now clinching its first NBA title in 40 years, Bay Area cities said they’re braced for raucous celebrations and prepared in the event the partying escalates into riots.

The Warriors took the 2015 NBA championship on Tuesday night by finishing off LeBron James and the undermanned Cavaliers 105-97 in Game 6 in Cleveland.

An open letter from Oakland’s interim City Administrator John Flores said the city is prepared for “exuberant” celebrations and large crowds taking over city streets.

“The city of Oakland will be prepared to maintain a safe environment for all to enjoy the pre- and post-game celebrations,” Flores said. “Our entire city family will be working hard to put Oakland’s best foot forward, keeping the city clean and making sure that the world knows what a great host Oakland has been for the Finals.”

On Tuesday, Oakland police did not provide the department’s specific plans or preparations for potential rowdy celebrations from a Warriors win.

Before Tuesday’s win, the last time an Oakland sports team brought home a championship was in 1989 when the A’s won the World Series. While there have been no huge sports celebrations in Oakland since, there were riots following the Raiders’ loss in the 2003 Super Bowl. In recent years, the city has been dealing with widespread vandalism and riots during large protests involving the Occupy movement and demonstrations following police shootings.

While the Warriors are based in Oakland, their fan base stretches across the Bay. The team is slated to move to San Francisco in a few years.

The San Francisco Police Department says officers are experienced and ready for what may follow a Warriors victory. “We’re prepared to act, we want to facilitate people and make sure they have fun,” said spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan. But she said officers will move in quickly if they see anyone trying to loot, start fires, or start a riot.

SFPD has canceled some officers’ days off in preparation for large celebratory crowds and plan to station extra staff in specific locations, including the Mission District, the South of Market and Marina neighborhoods.

Officers will not be wearing riot gear as they patrol city streets but will have it readily available in case the crowd turns ugly, Gatpandan said.

Such situations can escalate quickly, as SF Giants celebrations in the Mission District took a sudden turn last year with crowds of revelers suddenly turning on police there and throwing bottles at them.

Giants fans have smashed buses, lit fires, and pelted police with bottles as they streamed into city streets following the World Series victories in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

“We are prepared for the Warriors to win,” Officer Gatpandan said.

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