Boycott Miami Beach
On Memorial Day weekend, Miami Beach did a helluva job making sure African-Americans didn't feel welcome in the city. For the second straight year, the city's police department turned South Beach into a militarized zone to handle the 300,000-plus predominantly black visitors.
With the help of police, the city installed numerous cameras, 62 light towers, three watchtowers, and barricades along the sidewalks of Washington and Collins avenues. Roughly 400 officers from multiple agencies were deployed to keep the crowds in check.
I was there myself and saw three young black men riding scooters pulled over for no reason. A 14-year-old boy holding a puppy was put in a chokehold by a Miami-Dade cop for allegedly giving him "dehumanizing stares." And 414 people were sent to jail. All of these measures are designed to make African-Americans feel uncomfortable so they don't return next year. Hell, I felt more welcome in the city when I was a kid going to school at Fienberg Fisher Elementary and Miami Beach Senior High. Back then, African-Americans had to leave Miami Beach by sundown.
Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and the African-American county commissioners should be ashamed of themselves for condoning the police department's Memorial Day weekend military operation. Prominent African-American lawyer H.T. Smith should be calling for another national boycott of the city like he did in 1991 after local leaders snubbed Nelson Mandela.
Every black politician should demand that the U.S. Justice Department investigate the city for violating people's civil rights.
Instead, they all sit back and say nothing when Miami Beach asks for police support from the county. Taxpayers should not be footing the bill to racially profile people who are visiting to have a good time. They should be treated like the folks who come here for Miami Music Week, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and the boat show.
I guess the only way to get these politicians to do something about this problem is to hire lobbyist Ron Book to tell them they need to be upset. That's the only way things get done around here.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.