Miami Beach Sets Spring Break Curfew After Multiple Shootings

March 28, 2023 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Violent Crimes

Spring Break is a time for students and young adults to head to the beach and relax from the stress of school. However, in the past few years, there has been an exceeding amount of violence and chaos in Miami Beach during Spring Break. Most recently, the city had two fatal shootings over the weekend that resulted in a state of emergency and a curfew for all businesses.

This page will provide details regarding the most recent shootings, Miami’s emergency curfew, and whether or not the city will extend the curfew through this upcoming weekend.

To find out about the most common arrests made during Spring Break, find our blog post here.

Two Fatal Shootings

Friday, March 17th, 2023

Police responded to hearing gunshots near 7th Street and Ocean Drive during the busy night of celebrations for both Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day. According to a tweet by Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD), the shooting took place around 10:41 pm.

When police arrived at the scene, there found two men who had gunshot wounds. Both victims were taken to a nearby hospital, where one died and the other is still in critical condition. MBPD later posted a follow-up tweet addressing that they brought one suspect into custody who is fully cooperating with authorities. However, they stated that the identity of the apprehended person will not be released while the investigation is still ongoing.

Sunday, March 19th, 2023

Dontavious Leonard Polk, 24, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after a shooting took place around 3 am near 11th Street and Ocean Drive. According to the report, Polk had been walking down the street with three other men when he suddenly took out a firearm from his waistline and shot at a victim multiple times.

A surveillance video shows the crowd of people taking off in different directions as multiple gunshots were heard. Polk continuously shot the victim before finally taking off and attempting to flee the scene. The victim was taken to Ryder Trauma Center but died of their injuries. There was a second person injured in the shooting, but they are expected to make a recovery.

Polk was chased on foot by police until they eventually caught up to him and apprehended him. Polk’s firearm and bullet casings were obtained by police from the crime scene. The defendant now faces a first-degree murder charge, which has the penalties of either life in prison without parole, or the death penalty.

Message from Miami Beach Mayor

After two fatal shootings in one weekend, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber posted a video message addressing the incidents. During his statement, Gelber said that the number of large crowds and firearms which have been present in Miami Beach this Spring Break have “created a peril that cannot go unchecked.” This is despite the city’s efforts to bring in excessive police presence during the Spring Break holiday.

“We don’t ask for Spring Break in our city,” Gelber said. “We don’t want Spring Break in our city. It’s too rowdy, it’s too much disorder and it’s too difficult to police.”

In addition, Mayor Gelber claimed that those involved in the shootings so far were not locals, but visitors to Miami. He also claimed that in both cases there were police only seconds away. Miami Beach authorities found no choice but to implement a curfew for the remainder of the weekend.

Curfew Rules for Miami Beach

The curfew imposed by Miami Beach officials began on Sunday night at 11:59 pm and ended on Monday at 6 am. This is not the first time a curfew has been put into place during Spring Break—during last year’s Spring Break, there was an emergency curfew that ran from Thursday evening through Saturday evening. Also the year before that, officials declared a state of emergency due to large crowds and violence.

Under the most recent curfew, businesses were required to close before midnight. Restaurants could remain open for delivery, and hotels could stay open for service, but only for guests who were staying there. In addition, several roads were closed off and guests arriving at hotels were asked to provide proof of reservations.

To read the full document of Miami Beach’s Declaration of State of Emergency, you can find it here.

Extended Curfew Voted Against

Despite the Mayor and authorities’ concern over Spring Break violence, the Miami Beach City Commission voted against extending the curfew on Monday. The extended curfew was going to last through the following weekend. However, one measure they did vote in favor of was closing liquor stores early.

Several city commissioners argued that in previous years, the third weekend of Spring Break (this past weekend) was the time that saw the most violence. They argued that it would be unfair to those coming in the following week to be punished for others’ actions.

Miami is also set to host the popular Ultra Music Festival this upcoming weekend. The music festival brings in tens of thousands of guests to Miami. There are no weapons allowed at the festival, and those attending will be searched prior to entering.

“By requesting entry into the event, all festival-goers and attendees shall be subjected to a thorough TSA-style pat-down search, including emptying pockets and bags, and having your items examined,” is stated on Ultra’s website.

One of the commissioners, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez stated, “Ultra weekend is not the problem. The problem is weekend number three.”

For the Commission’s vote, it was a majority of four out of seven votes against extending the curfew. However, it was a majority of six votes in favor of closing liquor stores at 6 pm. Those in the Commission stated that the city manager will still have the ability to create another emergency curfew if necessary.

What to Do if You Are Arrested During Spring Break

If you or someone you know has been arrested during Spring Break, your first step should be contacting a legal representative to review your case. Most Spring Breakers are either high school or college ages, so they probably don’t have a full understanding of criminal charges and what happens if you are facing a criminal charge. This is where an attorney can help. By speaking with a skilled Tallahassee criminal defense attorney, you can receive guidance on defense strategies and receive help navigating the legal landscape.

At Pumphrey Law Firm, our team will put you and your case first. We understand how stressful getting arrested can be. Our attorneys will make sure you receive top quality defense while ensuring none of your rights are violated. Contact Don Pumphrey or one of our other attorneys today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message to receive a free consultation today.

Written by Karissa Key

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