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Sore losers

Police in riot gear combat rowdy fans in Oakland

Posted: Monday January 27, 2003 1:16 AM
Updated: Monday January 27, 2003 6:55 PM
  Oakland paint store A rock and paint can are lodged in the front window of a paint supply store after overnight vandalism. AP

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse football fans who smashed windows and set cars on fire after the Oakland Raiders' Super Bowl defeat.

At least 80 people were arrested Sunday night, mostly for public drunkenness and throwing rocks and bottles at police and obstructing officers, authorities said. Police said they are reviewing videotapes of the violence to try to identify some of those who escaped arrest.

"Unfortunately, you had a convergence of some young men that seemed hellbent on taking advantage of a situation to engage in lawlessness," Police Chief Richard Word said.

Police had assigned hundreds of extra officers to work the Oakland streets on Super Bowl Sunday. But trouble broke out after the 48-21 loss to Tampa Bay.

"When it was apparent that the Raiders were going to lose, we did not anticipate that people would turn to the streets to celebrate," Word said.

About 10 vehicles were set on fire and crowds broke the windows of at least one television news van, police and witnesses said. One group of young men set debris on fire in the middle of a street and then posed for news photographers.

Nine fire department vehicles and 12 police cars were damaged by thrown objects and three firefighters were injured, none seriously.

Police lobbed tear gas canisters into the crowds and pelted them with rubber bullets. Streets were closed off as the trouble shifted through various areas of East Oakland. People who threw things at officers and passing cars quickly retreated into the crowd, often making it difficult to arrest them, the police chief said.

It was the second straight week that violence followed a Raiders game. The previous week crowds also set fires and broke windows in the area.

Police were busy from the time of the first drunk driving arrest at 5 p.m. Sunday until about 2:30 a.m. Monday.

A McDonald's restaurant was broken into with a cement garbage can through the front glass door. The inside was ransacked and had been set on fire. Damage was estimated at $30,000.

 
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