Miami Beach mayor: ‘We don’t embrace the spring break atmosphere’
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (D) on Tuesday said the city doesn’t “embrace the spring break atmosphere” amid the seasonal influx of visitors and in the wake of two fatal shootings on Ocean Drive over the weekend.
“We don’t embrace the spring break atmosphere. We don’t advertise for it … We never asked for it,” Gelber said on “CNN This Morning.” The coastal Florida city is a popular destination for college students during their schools’ spring break vacation.
“We just simply try to police it. We bring in more police into our city than is imaginable… We try everything we can to control the crowds. But there are just simply too many of them to control,” Gelber said, adding that some in the masses “a way that is not simply chaotic, but sometimes criminal.”
One man was killed and another injured in a Friday night shooting, and another man was fatally shot in a separate incident at 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
The mayor noted on Tuesday that the fatal shootings “happened within steps of police officers,” but the crowds are keeping law enforcement from effectively deterring crime.
“We understand what the problem is: It’s too many people. Too many young people, too much disorder and, really, an inability to control it,” Gelber said.
Miami Beach announced a curfew on Sunday, which started 11:59 p.m. and lasted until 6 a.m., as the city continues to grapple with the chaotic crowds of spring breakers.
The city commission rejected an additional curfew for this weekend, opting instead to give the city manager power to restrict alcohol sales at local liquor stores after 6 p.m., according to NBC News.
“I think they were swayed by the bars and club representatives that packed the commission meeting, and I think they hope and believe this weekend will be better. I am not in line with that,” Gelber said of those on the city commission who voted against the curfew.
The mayor said “you cannot balance” the public safety issue created by the crowds “with bar receipts.”
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