Around 150 people were arrested in Miami Beach over the weekend as thousands of thousands of revelers pour into the city for spring break.
On Friday, about 120 people were arrested and two officers were injured during clashes with spring breakers, according to Local10.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told the news outlet that it is a “very difficult situation,” saying “a lot of people are coming here, and they are coming here with the wrong intentions.”
“We’re seeing too much spring break activity,” he added to CNN on Saturday. “We’ve got a problem with too many people coming here. We’ve got a problem with too many people coming here to let loose.”
Miami Beach has a midnight curfew due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.
Officials told the news outlet that police were forced to use pepper balls to break up what Local10 described as “aggressive gatherings.”
“We are dealing with the behavior,” Chief of Police Richard Clements told the outlet. “All we want to do is for people who want to come down here to have a good time, enjoy themselves, but obey the rules.” One official said that one of Miami Beach’s officers attempted to “arrest an individual” who was in a crowd, and the “crowd ended up turning on those officers who were there.”
Gelber then issued a warning: “If you are coming here because you think anything goes, you’re going to have a terrible time. We are going to arrest you.”
Over the weekend, of those who were arrested, 42 were charged with felonies, officials told Local10.
Police also addressed a viral video taken over the weekend that showed an officer body-slamming a man, identified later as 19-year-old James Harrison, before taking him into custody on Friday.
“The objective of getting that violent man into custody was achieved,” Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez told WSVN. Gelber, meanwhile, said that the slam appeared to be necessary because “people were throwing rocks and bottles at police officers. That’s just outrageous. They’re jumping on police cars.”
Some video footage, according to WSVN, showed girls dancing on top of police cruisers.
Authorities added that at least 13 firearms were recovered between Friday and Monday, the report said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently said that lockdowns or travel restrictions due to the CCP virus “ain’t happening in Florida,” WPTV reported. DeSantis, a Republican, has long been critical of pandemic-related lockdowns, arguing that the measures are simply not effective.
According to federal data, Florida has had 144 deaths involving COVID-19 per 100,000 residents since the beginning of the pandemic. That compares favorably with large states that enacted stricter measures. New York, for instance, has had 245 deaths per 100,000 residents.
Lorenz Duchamps contributed to this report.