Mexico’s surprise win over Germany in their First Stage FIFA 2018 World Cup soccer match on June 17 had an unexpected side-effect.
Hundreds of fans took to Southland streets, including Pacoima and other communities, to celebrate the 1-0 victory against the defending champions — the first time Mexico has beaten Germany in an official match — on a goal by Hirving Lozano. Some of those celebrations, notably in the area of Laurel Canyon and Van Nuys boulevards, became disruptive, causing police dressed in riot gear to make three arrests.
Pacoima was not the only location where police said things were getting out of hand. In East Los Angeles there were reports of some drivers burning rubber amid boisterous crowds on Whittier Boulevard, prompting sheriff’s deputies to close part of the street. And in Huntington Park, one man was seen launching a firework at a line of police. He was eventually arrested on assault with a deadly weapon.
Mexico, currently tied with Sweden atop the Group F standings, plays its next World Cup match on Saturday, June 23, against South Korea at 8 a.m. PDT. El Tri will finish its First Stage competition against Sweden on June 27 at 7 a.m., PDT, and then see if it has qualified for the knockout Round of 16.
Sgt. Charles Coleman of the LAPD Foothill Division — whose officers made the three arrests on Sunday — said the department has no current plans to close down streets or purposely blanket neighborhoods in anticipation of another raucous response should Mexico continue to advance in World Cup play.
For now, Coleman said, the Foothill Division will monitor any postgame reactions “more closely” and “provide an increased police presence” only if necessary to communities if needed to protect people and property.
“More than 90 percent of the people on Sunday who were celebrating Mexico’s win were law-abiding, doing so peacefully and doing what we asked,” Coleman said. “You always get that [small] percentage who want to destroy things because they think they can.
“We love the celebrations. We just want people to do it lawfully; that’s all we ask.”
Coleman said the LAPD would also post reminders about public safety and peaceful celebrations on its various community Facebook pages and other social media.
Along with Pacoima, the Foothill Division also serves La Tuna Canyon, Lake View Terrace, Shadow Hills, Sun Valley, Sunland, and Tujunga.
The World Cup tournament concludes on July 15.