Heavy police presence in Motown

Updated: June 16, 2004, 1:32 AM ET
Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Hundreds of people cheered and danced in downtown Detroit on Tuesday night moments after the Pistons won the NBA title.

"Ain't no party like Detroit party 'cause Detroit party don't stop," the celebrants chanted.

The crowd was orderly amid a heavy police presence.

"Other than large crowds and backed up traffic, that's pretty much the norm right now," Detroit police chief Ella Bully-Cummings said. "People in Detroit know how to have a good time and they know how to do it acting responsibly and we hope it continues tonight."

In suburban Detroit, hundreds of rowdy Pistons fans filled downtown Royal Oak, spilling into the streets and blocking traffic at times. Some set off illegal fireworks. Mounted police moved in and by early Wednesday had cleared the way for traffic. Police made a handful of arrests for minor offenses.

The last time the Pistons won the NBA championship, in 1990, seven people were killed, six of them hit by cars, and hundreds were injured by gunfire, stabbings and fighting. Looting and raucous behavior led to dozens of arrests after fans jammed streets to mark Detroit's 92-90 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers for the title.

Celebrations after the Red Wings' Stanley Cup victories in 1997, 1998 and 2002 were largely peaceful.

In Los Angeles, a steady stream of fans wearing purple and gold slumped out of Staples Center, where hundreds had gathered to watch the game on the arena's giant screens.

The scene outside the arena was calm, as dozens of Los Angeles police officers in riot gear patrolled the area to guard against outbreaks of vandalism and unrest that have followed Lakers championships in years past.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press