MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A video of a Miami Beach police officer making a rough arrest on Ocean Drive has gone viral, the local chapter of the NAACP is reacting, and so are police.
The incident happened around 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11, when spring breakers converged on South Beach. Police said there were nine arrests made from incidents involving large, unruly crowds that formed along the 800 and 900 block of Ocean Drive and into Lummus Park.
In the video that was posted on Instagram and Twitter, you can see a police officer and a woman running into each other. They both fall down, then the officer appears to push the woman. The woman can be seen kicking out her legs.
Police wouldn’t identify the woman in the video, but of the nine arrest reports obtained by Local 10 from that same evening, 19-year-old Jaises Elam, identified as a student from Detroit, appears to be the woman in the video.
In the arrest affidavit, it states that Miami Beach Police were responding to the 900 block of Ocean Drive in reference to officers needing assistance due to several patrons fighting. One officer who was running to the scene witnessed a woman punching a police vehicle multiple times while shouting an expletive. When she saw police officers, she began to run. The officer began to chase her southbound on Ocean Drive.
The police officer who collided with Elam said he was assisting the officer in the chase and that Elam was “also chasing (the first officer) in an attempt to obstruct him from making an arrest."
The report continues: "Ms. Elam collided with me during the chase, resulting in both of us falling to the ground. As I got up, I attempted to catch up with the (other officer) to assist with the arrest. Ms. Elam quickly turned towards me and violently kicked me with both feet. I subdued Ms. Elam by holding her to the ground until other police officers arrive. Ms. Elam was soon arrested without further incident.”
She was arrested for battery on a police officer and resisting an officer without violence.
The police report said that all of the officers were wearing body cameras. Elam reportedly complained of soreness on her hip and knee from the collision with the officer and Miami Beach Fire and Rescue responded and released her at the scene.
The chairman of the Miami-Dade NAACP, Ruben Roberts, said “What I saw there was a blatant disregard and disrespect for the visitors — black visitors — on the beach and somehow it appeared to me that they had the approval to do so.”
President Kevin Millan from the Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 8 sent a statement to news media.
“The Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #8 fully supports and defends our officers’ actions as it pertains to the recent videos that were posted online. Although three (3) separate videos were posted, this is one (1) chaotic incident involving a hostile crowd. The videos, along with the police officers body camera footage, captured the hostile crowd, fights, and disorderly actions of numerous spring breakers. We are confident that a fair and thorough investigation will result in all officers being cleared of any wrongdoing.
The officers of the Miami Beach Police Department are among the most diverse and well-trained groups in the nation. We professionally police all events in the City of Miami Beach the same and have acted as a model for other police departments across the nation. We are offended to have such a label as racists used to describe us by opportunists. The Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police is particularly saddened at the use of this label at a time when we should be focused on the COVID-19 public health crisis. Our primary concern is the safety and welfare of our residents and tourists.”
Local 10 received a statement from Miami Beach Police Department Chief Richard Clements who stated: “If you come to Miami Beach to cause problems, we will intervene and take enforcement action.”