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Black Activists Imply Miami’s Spring Break Curfew Is A Racially-Motivated ‘Overreaction’ As City Ends Alcohol Sales At 6PM

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Miami Spring Break

In an effort to curb the violence and disruptions associated with spring break in Miami Beach, officials are cracking down on alcohol sales and implementing a curfew.

After five people were wounded in two different shootings in the area, the city's committee unanimously voted to maintain a curfew over the South Beach from midnight until 6 a.m. through at least Monday.

Alongside the curfew, Miami Beach gave City Manager Alina Hudak the power to stop liquor stores and liquor retailers from selling alcohol in the area past 6 p.m.

However, some have raised concerns about the implications of the new rules.

Black activists are implying the Miami Beach shutdowns are racially-motivated and an ‘overreaction.’

“The only emergency is that Black people are on the Beach,” said Stephen Hunter Johnson, a member of Miami-Dade’s Black Advisory Board.

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“I don’t understand how this town has been doing spring break for at least 25 years and can’t figure it out.”

Johnson claims that Miami Beach officials are afraid of all the Black people that are roaming the streets during this spring break, even though the town is a tourist-heavy destination that often sees this many vacation-goers.

“Everything I’ve observed has been peaceful, just kids trying to have a good time, that’s all I've been seeing,” said Melba Pearson, a civil rights attorney, to the Miami Herald.

“It’s an absolute overreaction. Not to trivialize people being harmed or shot, but you have to have a balanced approach to issues of criminal justice and law enforcement.”

Officials have told businesses that they should close up shop early to prevent action from being taken against anyone unaware of the curfew, but spring breakers are furious.

Hotels are allowed to continue service inside of the hotel past curfew but only for hotel guests — requiring that any hotel guests arriving past curfew show proof of lodging.

Businesses other than hotels will be allowed to operate in delivery only during curfew hours, prohibiting takeout and pick-up orders.

Essential services “such as fire, police and hospital services, including transporting patients, utility emergency repairs, and emergency calls by physicians,” will not be affected by this curfew.

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The city has reached for a temporary alcohol ban twice in the past after the Clevelander Hotel took them to court only to be struck down by Miami-Dade Judge Beatrice Butchko.

“The state of emergency is an abuse of governmental power, and it scares the crap out of me,” Rep. Grieco said. “It can be interpreted as a way to do an end-around on the recent order by Judge Butchko.”

However, Miami Beach commissioners have doubled down on the curfew, and they’re not alone.

“It’s literally by the grace of God that we haven’t had a tragedy in our city. I can’t think of a more fitting public safety emergency than this one,” Commissioner Steven Meiner said.

Some townsfolk also agreed that something needed to be done about the situation that many believe has gotten out of control this year.

“I understand the issues the city is facing with the crowds and the shootings that have occurred,” said Glendon Hall, who lives on Miami Beach and chairs the advisory committee.

“A shooting with these crowds and the first instinct of everyone is to run and start a stampede. For me, as a longtime resident, there has to be something done.”

The move has been said to last until Monday with the potential for an extension depending on how the situation progresses.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.

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