Officials in Miami Beach, Florida, have declared a state of emergency in response to large crowds, violent incidents, and shootings over the past spring break weekend.
The emergency order, announced Monday by Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and City Manager Alina Hudak, allows Miami Beach to institute a curfew set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and last until 6 a.m. Monday, according to CNN. A curfew for March 31–April 4 is under consideration as well.
The emergency order and curfew come after five people were injured in two shootings in Miami Beach this past weekend.
“If you want to see what a very frustrated and angry mayor looks like, you’re looking at him,” Gelber said, according to CNN. “Our city is well past its end point. What we are watching, what we are feeling, and what we are observing is simply unacceptable at every level.”
The first shooting took place at about 12:15 a.m. Sunday, on Ocean Drive, police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said, according to the Associated Press. Police officers found two wounded people who were then taken to the hospital, Rodriguez said.
Doctors at another hospital alerted the police department that a third person arrived at their emergency room with a gunshot wound.
Then, police officers patrolling Ocean Drive heard gunfire around 1 a.m. on Monday, according to CNN. After investigation, the officers located two women who had been injured. Those women were taken to the hospital.
Police officers also detained two people at the scene and recovered firearms.
The Need For A Curfew
The curfew isn’t just warranted due to the two shootings.
Miami Beach officials note that tens of thousands of people have descended on Miami Beach in recent weeks. Since the start of the spring break time frame, at least five people have been shot, nine police officers have been wounded, and police officers have confiscated more than 100 firearms, according to the Miami Herald.
The cumulative effect has strained Miami Beach’s resources.
“Officers are EXHAUSTED,” the Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police said in a Twitter post Sunday. “The party needs to end. City officials must take immediate and firm action to ensure the safety of officers and residents.”
When asked at Monday’s press conference about the unruly crowds that have been in Miami Beach for spring break the past 3 weeks now, Mayor Gelber voiced his frustration.
“We don’t ask for it, promote it, or encourage it,” Gelber said. “We just endure it.”
Then, when asked if a curfew will help prevent further violence, Gelber was equally blunt.
“It’s very hard to deter idiots and criminals from doing things,” Gelber said, according to the Miami Herald.
Know So You Won’t Go
The Miami Beach curfew starts at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, March 24, and remains in place until Monday, March 28, at 6:01 a.m.
The curfew will be enforced for areas south of 23rd street to South Pointe Drive, and from the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Biscayne Bay on the west. This area includes popular spring break locations like Ocean Drive and the Entertainment District.
City Manager Hudak has asked for a similar curfew for March 31–April 4, however, that request is pending review by the city commission.
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