Protests pick up again in Miami; Police want to keep curfew in place through the weekend

Protesters have marched through Miami for a fourth consecutive day.

MIAMI – Protesters have marched through Miami for a fourth consecutive day.

This afternoon, they organized symbolically in the vicinity of Miami-Dade’s pretrial detention center, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building. They then began marching up NW 12th Avenue near the Jackson Medical Towers.

Around 5 p.m. they took a knee at NW 12th Avenue and NW 20th Street and then proceeded through Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood and into Wynwood. The multigenerational crowd has grown as it spreads a message of racial unity, joining the national response to George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis.

The group has included doctors in their scrubs, holding signs that read “White coats for black lives.”

Images of burned police units, broken glass and apparent looting from Saturday stand in sharp contrast to the overall spirit of peaceful protests in Miami-Dade over the past three days. And county leaders are commending community organizers for advocating those peaceful demonstrations.

Still, the county’s police director says they continue to monitor chatter on social media, and he advocates keeping the 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew in place through the weekend.

“Moving forward, we are monitoring our intelligence out there in the community. With the help of the community, it’s been peaceful,” police director Freddy Ramirez said in a meeting with county commissioners Tuesday morning. “We have a lot of peaceful protests going on. As you saw [Monday], we made no arrests. However, there still is a lot of rhetoric on social media. As you see around the country, things are very heated. That’s why I feel that we should continue with the curfew through the weekend so we can have consistency — in case any of these groups try to start something in our community.”

Commissioners praised protesters who prevented property damage when they stopped people who tried to break into a downtown CVS on Sunday night.

Some business owners impacted by Saturday night’s acts of vandalism and looting told Local 10 News that they believe the majority of damage done that night was instigated by outside agitators disrupting the intent of peaceful protests.

That view was echoed by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Tuesday.

“We do believe that there were outside agitators that wanted to create chaos here in Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said. “But I think also that the police department showed the appropriate amount of strength and the appropriate amount of force. So we will protect the rights of the demonstrators to demonstrate and voice their opinion, as long as they do it peacefully. But we will not tolerate any kind of destruction of property or putting people’s lives in danger.”

Gimenez has said that he doesn’t want beaches to reopen while there is still a curfew, so a continued curfew could keep those beaches closed.

The curfew will resume Tuesday night at 9 p.m., running through Wednesday at 6 a.m.

Commissioners also discussed with Gimenez shutting down public transit in only targeted areas when that is deemed necessary, as the decision to close the transit entirely on Saturday night left many people stranded.

Earlier Tuesday, local religious leaders and the mayor of Miami Gardens asked the community to stand in solidarity with peaceful protesters — and to condemn distracting and destructive acts of property damage.

“How you exercise that frustration isn’t by burning a car or looting a store or taking some Jordans or getting a phone," Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert said. “It’s about registering to vote.”

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."