MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A reported arrest quota for Memorial Day weekend is causing anger and concern among community activists and union officers in Miami Beach.
Rumors of the quota, which allegedly calls for 2,000people to be arrested over the holiday weekend, first came to light in an email complaint from the officers' union. In that email, the union called the quota "aggressive, patently unfair, and unjust."
Police Chief Raymond Martinez has denied the reports, saying in an email to Local 10, "I want to be clear, there is no arrest quota for Memorial Day weekend or any other day on Miami Beach."
But the ACLU is also concerned, especially when it comes to protecting civil rights.
"This is a big mistake they're making," said ACLU attorney Howard Simon."Their goal should be zero arrests, not 2,000 arrests. If police are going to use arrests not as a last resort, but as a first resort they're going to make the situation worse."
The ALCU sent a letter to Martinez saying this is "targeted solely toward a predominately African-American event" and "raises serious constitutional concerns."
They also said police need to use "professional training" to diffuse situations rather than arrest party-goers as a first response.
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson said the quota is unfair and wrong.
"We're not going to use our children as quotas," she told Local 10's Ross Palombo. "These children are already petrified."
Wilson said she will not allow the police to "use our children as bait for you to raise the profile of your police department."
Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan said it is a form of racial profiling and being done "deliberately to kill Urban Beach Weekend."
"The police chief can deny it all he wants, I've seen it in writing," Jordan said. "They have a plan on how they will tackle the weekend and the kinds of things they're going to do."
Meanwhile, in a column written for Local10.com, Luther Campbell issued a controversial warning to members of the African-American community who will be visiting Miami Beach for Memorial Day Weekend.