LAPD officers injured, police car damaged, vandalism and looting after NBA championship game

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LOS ANGELES, CA – For those that still care about professional sports, the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship for the first time in ten years.  On October 11th, fans rushed to the stadium in celebration of the event. 

Many people were captured on camera not wearing masks and another people was captured trying to break out the window of a police car.

Local leaders had urged all fans not to congregate and stay at home for their celebrations because of the pandemic.  However, many people defied that order, much like they do at large protests and riots.  Democratic Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti sent out a tweet reminding people to stay home:

 

“As we cheer our @Lakers’ 17th championship, please remember it’s still not safe to gather in groups.”

Hundreds of fans were seen around the Staples Center despite local leaders’ orders for there not to be a large gathering and to stay away from the arena.  In order to lessen the ability to get to the stadium, the California Highway Patrol closed interstate exits to the downtown area to prevent people from going toward the Staples Center.

Of course, it did not take long for the people, not social distancing and few wearing masks, to become unruly.  Several people began blocking off the streets in order for motorcycles and other vehicles to do spin outs. 

In addition, video of the area showed several people who were attempting to damage a marked Los Angeles Police vehicles by kicking out the windshield.  Shortly afterward, the police declared an unlawful assembly and ordered the crowd to disperse.  The LAPD said:

“Unruly individuals mixed within the crowd began throwing glass bottles, rocks, and other projectiles at officers.  That is when an unlawful assembly was declared, and only a limited number of people complied and began to disperse. 

A larger portion of the group broke off and began vandalizing businesses while continuing to engage in violent behavior, some aimed at responding officers.”

Officers moved in to disperse the crowd and ordered people to leave the area.  Those who refused to do so were arrested.

Other people began attacking the police by throwing champagne bottles at them.  Police promptly defended themselves by firing less lethal munitions which sent the crowd, and the attackers, running.

In all, 76 people were arrested and over 30 buildings and businesses were damaged during the celebration aftermath.  Eight officers were injured, and three rioters were taken to the hospital for medical treatment after being struck by less lethal munitions. 

Despite the numerous fans that were out and celebrating in downtown Los Angeles, other people were disgusted that the event was going on given the restrictions in place because of the pandemic.  One twitter user, Abigail Shrier, said:

“This is the city that won’t allow my children to go to school-even distanced, with masks, desks cubicled with Plexiglas.”

Elated fans had hoped and prayed for this championship after the untimely death of NBA great Kobe Bryant.  Bryant and his daughter were killed while they were flying in a helicopter which crashed on the way to a basketball game.

The NBA played a shorten and condensed schedule this year out of concern for the pandemic spreading.  The games were played in a ‘bubble’ in Orlando and no fans were allowed to attend them.

California Governor forces churches in 29 counties to close their doors ‘indefinitely’ because of virus

July 18, 2020 – CALIFORNIA – The California Department of Health has suspended, once again, all indoor church gatherings.

Governor Gavin Newsom made the announcement on Monday, July 13th, 2020, that due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, restaurants, retail stores, and hair salons in 29 counties on the states Coronavirus Watch List are being forced to close their doors indefinitely, and that includes churches.

These 29 counties account for nearly 80% of the state’s population. What is frustrating many citizens of California, and across the country, is how hyped the media has made COVID-19.

Every day, news outlets send breaking news reports of how many new positive cases there are, but never release the numbers of how many have recovered.

To date, California has less COVID-19 deaths than the State of Massachusetts and the population of California is more than six times that of Massachusetts.

When you look at the infection fatality rate of COVID-19 for the country as a whole, it is on par with that of our seasonal flu, a whopping .65% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the numbers are always fluctuating because to find the infection fatality rate you have to divide the number of deaths by the number of infections. 

Pastor Arthur Hodges of South Bay Pentecostal Church in San Diego said:

“Churches are not part of the problem. They are part of the solution and while hospitals are treating people with this medical condition, which is needful, the other parts of people’s wellbeing are completely left out. Their spiritual well-being, emotional well-being.

“The Church will not be marginalized any longer. The Church is here to help our society heal.” 

Legal battles have erupted in states across the country, including California, as churches fight to keep their doors open. From claims of First Amendment rights violations to claims of unequal treatment, religious leaders demand that state and local governments treat churches the same as most businesses.

In late May, President Trump labeled synagogues, churches, and mosques as essential businesses because they provide an essential service: they care for a person’s spiritual and emotional well-being.

As essential as churches are for many Americans, many public health authorities are concerned with the rise of new cases, congregating at places of worship could quickly cause them to become hot spots due to the inability to remain six feet apart, sharing of frequently touched worship aids, or passing of the collections plate.

However, the CDC Guidelines for Considerations for the Communities of Faith lay out specific guidelines to help churches lessen the chance of the virus being transmitted rapidly among congregants.

The question for Governor Newsom is if the expectations for any other business, or organization is to follow the CDC guidelines for reopening, why should churches be treated any differently? 

Since Federal district and appeals court judges have previously ruled against California churches, it is highly unlikely the churches will have a fighting chance this time around.

The community’s spiritual caregivers will need to get creative in how they guide their congregations and offer spiritual support as this disease drags the US through its fifth month.

Pastor (Cmdr.) David Jeltema, a Navy chaplain at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland said:

“This is a very isolating disease that we’re dealing with. When people are not able to experience things like acts of hospitality, I think they find there is a void in their lives.”

Jeltema recommends someone dealing with a religious void practice yoga, meditation, and handheld labyrinth exercises. Attending virtual services, spending time in nature, or creating small bible study groups are other ways some may find peace. 

 

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