In Miami Beach, Spring Break Sees a Hard Crackdown

City sets curfew, declares state of emergency after 2 die in weekend gun violence
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2023 6:23 AM CDT
After 2 Fatal Shootings, a Curfew in Miami Beach
Crowds gather during spring break on Saturday in Miami Beach, Florida. Miami Beach officials imposed a curfew beginning Sunday night after two fatal shootings and rowdy, chaotic crowds that police have had difficulty controlling.   (D.A. Varela/Miami Herald via AP)

A fatal shooting took place in Miami Beach on Friday night, then another early Sunday, and now city officials are taking measures to curb the violence that's marred spring break in the South Florida city. Per a press release, a state of emergency has been declared in the city in response to both shootings and the "excessive large and unruly crowds," with a curfew put in place from 11:59pm on Sunday through 6am Monday. "Businesses within the affected area shall close sufficiently in advance of the curfew in order to permit patrons to avoid violating the curfew," the release notes, adding that while restaurant delivery was allowed past the curfew, takeout and pickup weren't.

City residents going to and from work or their homes were exempt from the curfew. The release goes on to say that additional restrictions are expected from the city manager for next weekend, to be put in place from Thursday through Monday. Per CNN, the first shooting occurred Friday in South Beach as spring breakers and revelers celebrating St. Patrick's Day converged, ending with one fatality and one person injured. Police say four firearms were found at the scene. According to a tweet thread by the Miami Beach Police Department, the second shooting happened around 3:30am Sunday on Ocean Drive, when cops heard gunshots and found a male victim with gunshot wounds. He was transported to a hospital, where he died.

A second victim who apparently suffered minor injuries was treated and released at the scene. Per NBC Miami, there's been an arrest in that case, with 24-year-old Dontavious Leonard Polk now in custody and facing first-degree murder charges. The police say that incident was a "targeted and isolated one," though that didn't assuage Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. "As I've said many times, we don't ask for spring break in our city," Gelber said in a video message to residents on Sunday, per the Hill. "We don't want spring break in our city. It's too rowdy, brings too much disorder, and it's simply too difficult to police." Gelber notes that the shootings both involved tourists, not locals, and that the large, disorderly crowds, in addition to the "presence of guns," had created a "peril that cannot go unchecked." (More Miami Beach stories.)

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