Miami Beach orders emergency curfew for unruly crowds after two fatal weekend shootings
The city of Miami Beach, Florida is implementing a curfew after two shootings in the area in what is slowly becoming an annual state of emergency for unruly mobs.
For the past three years, Miami Beach has enacted emergency measures in March as holiday crowds attract “dangerous and illegal behavior.” The city manager announced a curfew on Sunday from 11:59 p.m. until 6 a.m. Monday.
This time of year is widely associated with spring break crowds, though city officials have said that in recent years, visitors to Miami Beach have included people who aren’t the students normally associated with it. to the term “Spring breakers”.
A special committee meeting will be held Monday afternoon to discuss enacting similar measures next weekend, the city said.
Miami Beach police responded to two fatal shootings over the weekend. The first happened at 10:41 p.m. Friday near 7th Street and Ocean Drive, where two men were found with gunshot wounds.
One man died in hospital and the other was in critical condition. Police announced on Saturday that a suspect had been taken into custody.
A second shooting occurred at 3:29 a.m. Sunday, this time closer to 11th Street and Ocean Drive, police said. A man was killed and a suspect was arrested.
The shootings appear to be isolated, unrelated incidents, police said.
In March 2021, unruly mobs during spring break were blamed for fights that had to be broken up by police and triggered the first state of emergency.
Around the same weekend in March last year, Miami Beach implemented its second state of emergency after five bystanders were hospitalized in two random shootings. Mayor Dan Gelber called the rowdy behavior of tourists “unacceptable”.
“We don’t want spring break here…but they keep coming,” Gelber said at a press conference last year. “People continue to come here in large numbers, so many that it creates an almost impossible situation for our police.”
Gelber said in 2021 that he did not believe the influx of visitors was part of typical spring break demographics, as the tourists causing the problems were not the college students usually associated with the holiday week. .
At the time, he said he thought Florida’s lack of Covid-19 restrictions was most likely a major factor in bringing people to the area.
Sunday’s state of emergency order did not explicitly refer to spring break as the cause of “unruly crowds”, but it is about the same date as orders from the previous two years.
Essential services and food delivery will be allowed after curfew hours on Sunday, but businesses must admit their last guests with enough time for them to leave before curfew.
Alcohol sales will be banned for off-premises consumption in the curfew area after 6 p.m., according to the order.
The city has warned that anyone violating the curfew faces arrest and criminal charges.