MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach police officers are working 12-hour shifts and the message from law enforcement is that spring breakers coming to the city with the idea that there are no rules will be arrested.
After a wild Friday night, police presence is even heavier. Spring breakers were out of control Friday night with police having to respond with force. In some cases, pepper balls were used to break up what police said were aggressive gatherings.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said rocks and bottles were thrown at officers patrolling the streets.
“We are dealing with the behavior,” Chief of Police Richard Clements said. “All we want to do is for people who want to come down here to have a good time, enjoy themselves, but obey the rules.”
Officers made dozens of arrests already on Friday night from people fighting to women dancing on police cars.
“It is really a difficult situation. A lot of people are coming here and they are coming here with the wrong intentions,” Gelber said.
Two officers were injured in the mayhem.
“Our officers had to go into a crowd and attempt to arrest an individual,” Rodriguez said. “The crowd ended up turning on those officers who were there.”
Gelber said he spoke with both and that they were doing well and that he thanked them for putting themselves in harm’s way for the residents of the city.
Among those arrested, 19-year-old James Harrison was taken into custody after police told him to leave when they said he pushed an officer, and 55-year-old Kenneth Adams was hauled off to jail after witnesses said he beat a 73-year-old homeless man with a chair.
Five guns were recovered Friday night, police said.
Those working on the street face two obstacles — keeping the peace and controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Gelber has a message for visitors: “If you are coming here because you think anything goes, you’re going to have a terrible time. We are going to arrest you.”
And while news of COVID numbers is getting better with more people being vaccinated and cases going down, Gelber warns that people shouldn’t become complacent.
While more crowds are expected Saturday night, Miami-Dade County officials remind everyone that a midnight curfew is still in effect.
According to police, since Monday they have made 119 arrests, seized 13 guns and issued nearly 900 traffic citations.