The spring break arrest total in Miami Beach has now surpassed 1,000 following days of unrest, with many people coming from out of state to “to engage in lawlessness and an ‘anything goes’ party attitude,” officials say.
The updated figures come as officials also voted to extend curfews and closures at the popular tourist destination through April 12, despite some residents reportedly complaining of having to wait in traffic jams of up to four hours after police closed bridges in hopes of preventing the unruly crowds from gathering.
However, more photos continue to emerge of law enforcement making arrests in Miami Beach. Fox News has reached out to the city’s police department for further comment.
More than half of the more than 1,000 arrests were from out of state, said City Manager Raul Aguila, adding many are coming “to engage in lawlessness and an ‘anything goes’ party attitude.”
He also said that the crowds weren’t eating at restaurants or patronizing businesses to help generate badly needed tourism dollars, but merely congregating by the thousands in the street.
The crowds – which have been fighting in the streets, destroying restaurant property and refusing to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic – drew concern from Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements last Monday, when they seemed larger than normal on what is typically a quieter day.
“We couldn’t go on any longer,” Clements said during a meeting Sunday with city officials, defending the curfew. “I think this was the right decision.”
Miami tourism officials say billions of dollars were lost when the pandemic first erupted last year, canceling spring break and forcing beach closures across Florida. The city’s tourism arm just spent $5 million on its biggest national advertising campaign in 20 years.
At the same time, local officials banned alcohol from the beach, along with all alcohol sales after 10 p.m. in an effort to curb partying. The city even sent cellphone text messages to tourists warning, “Vacation Responsibly or Be Arrested.”
“I just feel like it’s really not fair,” tourist Heather Price told NBC 6. “People paid a lot of money to come all the way out here, just to not be able to do the activities they wanted to.”
Fox News’ Bradford Betz and the Associated Press contributed to this report.