NBA player ar­rested in Nick­er­son Gar­dens clash

Sacra­mento’s Zach Ran­dolph is sus­pected of pos­sess­ing mar­i­juana for sale.

Los Angeles Times - - CITY & STATE - By Son­ali Kohli son­ali.kohli@la­times.com Twit­ter: @Son­al­i_Kohli

Sacra­mento Kings’ Zach Ran­dolph was one of two men ar­rested dur­ing a clash that be­gan Wed­nes­day night be­tween po­lice and com­mu­nity mem­bers out­side the Nick­er­son Gar­dens hous­ing project in Watts, au­thor­i­ties said.

Ran­dolph, 36, was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana for sale. Also ar­rested was Stan­ley Wal­ton, 43, on sus­pi­cion of car­ry­ing a gun as an ex-con­vict.

Los An­ge­les County sher­iff ’s records show that Ran­dolph was ar­rested and held on $20,000 bail. The LAPD has given a dif­fer­ent spell­ing of his name but con­firmed that the NBA player had been ar­rested.

Ran­dolph, a former All-Star, re­cently signed a twoyear, $24-mil­lion free agent con­tract with the Sacra­mento Kings af­ter eight sea­sons with the Mem­phis Griz­zlies. He spent part of the 2008-09 sea­son with the Clip­pers. He at­tended Michi­gan State Univer­sity, ac­cord­ing to the NBA.

Los An­ge­les City Coun­cil­man Mar­queece Har­risDaw­son said he dis­agreed with the of­fi­cers’ ac­tions.

Harris-Daw­son said he was “very dis­ap­pointed” that po­lice ar­rested the sports star on sus­pi­cion of a mar­i­juana of­fense in an African Amer­i­can neigh­bors­ense hood hard hit by the war on drugs, es­pe­cially when med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries con­tinue to op­er­ate il­le­gally.

The city plans to be­gin li­cens­ing recre­ational cannabis busi­nesses by Jan­uary, fol­low­ing a le­gal­iza­tion vote last Novem­ber.

“Here’s Zach Ran­dolph, a 33-year-old man with a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar con­tract in a hous­ing project, and our city is still ar­rest­ing peo­ple with the idea, I guess, that he was sell­ing weed to make ends meet,” said Harris-Daw­son, who rep­re­sents parts of South Los An­ge­les. “Es­pe­cially when right down the street there’s a store­front with a green cross on it where peo­ple are il­le­gally sell­ing mar­i­juana and they’re ac­tu­ally ad­ver­tis­ing on the In­ter­net and the whole nine yards.

“We need to end that nonThe once and for all,” he said, adding that he planned to speak to po­lice about the in­ci­dent.

Five po­lice ve­hi­cles and one sher­iff’s ve­hi­cle were van­dal­ized with smashed win­dows and slashed tires, said LAPD Of­fi­cer Lil­iana Pre­ci­ado, a depart­ment spokes­woman. No of­fi­cers were in­jured. Po­lice also re­cov­ered two guns, and im­pounded two ve­hi­cles and nar­cotics, she said.

A gang unit was in the area — near 112th Street and Zamora Av­enue — about 10:20 p.m. Wed­nes­day when of­fi­cers ob­served a large crowd that was drink­ing, smok­ing mar­i­juana, play­ing loud mu­sic and block­ing the road, Pre­ci­ado said.

Of­fi­cers chased the group. While they were de­tain­ing the two men, the grow­ing crowd be­came ag­i­tated and sur­rounded the of­fi­cers, Pre­ci­ado said.

Po­lice units and Los An­ge­les County sher­iff ’s deputies re­sponded and formed skir­mish lines to dis­perse the crowd, she said. Po­lice left the area about 1 a.m.

“There were no in­ci­dents as the skir­mish lines were on­go­ing,” Pre­ci­ado said.

Bran­don Dill As­so­ci­atecd PRess

ZACH RAN­DOLPH, a former All-Star, re­cently signed a two-year deal with the Sacra­mento Kings.

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