Police shrug at street party after Spurs win
Web Posted: 06/25/2005 12:00 AM CDT
Vianna Davila and Jerry Briggs
Express-News Staff Writers
On a night when most San Antonio fans safely celebrated a third Spurs NBA championship title, the only break the defeated Detroit Pistons could muster was a shattered window on the bus carrying them to the airport from the SBC Center.
But authorities said that overall, the postgame festivities went off without a hitch, despite the Pistons' troubles and large crowds gathering downtown.
"We can say with confidence that the crowds behaved in an orderly and controlled manner," San Antonio Police Department Spokesman Michael Muniz said.
The Pistons may have disagreed when someone on the street apparently threw a rock and hit a passenger-side window when the team was about a mile from the SBC Center, said Joe Arebalo, the driver of their bus.
"Everybody shouted, "Oh, (bleep). Get us out of here,'" said Arebalo, who drives for Coach USA.
Detroit team spokesman Matt Dobek said he thinks fans on the streets were aware that the Pistons were on the bus.
"They were all heckling us, but it wasn't that bad. They were cheering "Go, Spurs go,'" he said. "It was just this one person (who threw the rock). One can ruin it for everyone else."
Dobek said the Pistons didn't report the incident to law enforcement. But he said NBA security representatives were on the bus. Dobek said he doesn't see a need for a review of security in the wake of the incident.
Dobek said that when the rock hit the window, it startled the Pistons after their 81-74 loss to the Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. But they weren't that upset.
"It was just one fan," he said. "These things happen. No one knows that better than the Detroit Pistons."
A fan at a Pistons game threw a beer cup that hit Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest during a game Nov. 19 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Artest charged into the stands, and a brawl ensued between the Pacers and Pistons fans.
No such riots unfolded on San Antonio streets, although fans downtown and on the highways hit plenty of traffic.
Both Interstate 35 and I-37 were highly congested, almost to a standstill, SAPD Sgt. Gabe Trevino said.
Deputy Chief Rudy Gonzalez, police commander for the party, estimated 150,000 people flooded downtown after the game, Trevino said.
"We did have a major congestion issue," said Muniz, who added the streets were mostly cleared by 3 a.m. "The roads were backed up all over downtown. But given all that, the amount of tickets and arrests that needed to be cited were relatively low."
Police reported two felony arrests for criminal mischief, four public intoxication arrests in the downtown area, and two arrests for assaults and threats to police officers, Muniz said.
One person was issued a ticket for unlawful riding and another for allowing an infant to travel in a vehicle without a car seat.
There was a shooting in the area of the festivities, but police said it wasn't connected to the celebrations and might be gang-related.
From the perspective of Spurs fan Michael Garcia, 34, standing at Losoya and Commerce, Friday's early-morning party was a success.
"There was really a showing of all people of San Antonio," Garcia said. "Older people, younger people, high school individuals, college individuals, a real range of Spurs fans that were out there."
At one point small fights broke out between revelers and others who rocked cars or climbed on top of vehicles. But Garcia took it in stride.
"They were celebrating, they wanted to let loose some energy and that seemed to be the way to do it," he said.