Miami Beach’s curfew — enacted after two people were killed in front of huge crowds of young people in the busiest part of the city last weekend — will not be extended into next weekend, despite thousands of revelers expected to flock to the spring break hotspot for the Ultra Music Festival.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber enacted a midnight curfew Sunday in the wake of the fatal shootings, but clashed with commissioners Monday, who argued another weekend of curfew would not solve the problem and harm business profits.
When it was pointed out there were no shooting the previous weekend, despite it still being Spring Break, Gelber said that “might just have been luck.”
“Luck is not a plan. We have a real problem with the number of people that are coming, and the guns that are coming,” Gelber said.
“It feels as though we’re balancing business interests with the public safety. I understand that’s a balancing that happens. I just don’t think after this weekend that’s a balancing we can do,” Gelber went on.
“We can’t balance that interest when we’ve had two people killed over the last weekend in as many days, and our police are telling us in no uncertain terms that it is a continued dangerous situation.”
Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez argued during the Special City Commission Meeting the worst was over and the third weekend of spring break which just passed is typically the most chaotic.
It was during this weekend that despite a heavy police presence one person was killed and another was critically injured during a shooting late Friday. A second person was executed in what police described as a targeted attack along a bustling sidewalk early Sunday morning.
City Commissioner Ricky Arriola argued curfews are not “a long-term solution,” and pointed to the fact many people descending on the area aren’t partying in clubs and bars, but on the streets and beaches.
“We’re taking it out on law-abiding businesses, and it becomes a death spiral,” he argued.
“What we have to do is police our streets, make our public safe and work with our business community to have better establishments. Close down the bad ones that help contribute to this,” Arriola later added.
“Change our city and not cater to the crowd that’s coming. Because the crowd that’s coming don’t go to our bars, don’t go to our nightclubs. They party in the streets.”
Roughly 165,000 people flocked to Ultra Music Festival — scheduled for this weekend — in Downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park last year.
Commissioners have voted to mandate area liquor stores close at 6 p.m. for the upcoming weekend. Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements joined a handful of commissioners who argued people would find other ways to bring alcohol with them.
“I’m not going to say that it makes us any safer,” Clements said. He acknowledged, however, that crowds are known to congregate around liquor stores.
Video from Sunday’s shooting showed crowds along the street near Ocean Drive and 11th Street around 3:30 a.m. when the alleged gunman, 24-year-old Dontavious Polk, shot the unidentified victim at point-blank range using a stolen gun, police said.
The busy sidewalk quickly cleared as the gunman continued shooting the victim, who collapsed to the ground and stopped moving. The victim was rushed to an area hospital, but could not be saved.
Police recovered 11 shell casings at the scene.
Polk allegedly ran off, and ditched the .40 caliber Glock 27, before he was arrested, cops said. Investigators recovered his gun, which had an extended magazine, police said.
The suspect, from Fort Lauderdale, was booked after he was hospitalized for pain stemming from a prior gunshot wound, Miami Beach police said.
Days earlier on Friday, one man was killed and another was critically hurt during a shooting around 10:40 p.m., police said. One person was later taken into custody and police recovered four guns from the crime scene.
Both incidents, the mayor said, involved people who were visiting from out of town. Police said Tuesday the incidents were not connected.
As of Sunday, police had recovered over 70 guns in the past three weeks, Gelber said.
|Read More Latest Crime News From United States & European Countries|