Miami Beach Police Deny They Have a 2,000 Person Arrest Quota for Memorial Day Weekend

Are Miami Beach Police planning to arrest 2,000 people during the notorious Memorial Day weekend parties on South Beach? As in they've actually set a quota regardless of whether or not 2,000 deserve to be arrested. To put that in prospective, the record number of arrests over Memorial Day weekend ever in Miami Beach was just over 1,000.

Rumors of such a number emerged this week, but Police Chief Raymond Martinez has denied that his department has set a real quota.

According to Local 10, rumors of the quota first emerged in an email complaint from the police officers' union that called the quota "aggressive, patently unfair, and unjust."

Martinez denies that such a quota exists.

"I want to be clear, there is no arrest quota for Memorial Day weekend or any other day on Miami Beach," he wrote in an email to Local 10.

This weekend will be Chief Martinez's first real test since officially taking over the department in March. Last weekend's festivities were marred by multiple police-involved shootings.

Martinez's plans for the weekend are nothing short of aggressive. There will be more than 600 officers on patrol. DUI checkpoints will be established towards the entrance of South Beach, and high tech scanners will scan every license plate that comes onto the island. Proof of residency will also be needed to enter certain residential areas of the beach by car. All in all the city will spend more than $2 million on crowd control.

Martinez explained to CBS Miami that the 2,000 arrest number was not an order but does hope his officers are more strict this year.

"I think if you let the smaller problems go, the smaller things, later on become bigger problems and it's really an officer safety thing," Martinez told the station.

The ACLU however is critical of the plans.

"This is a big mistake they're making," ACLU attorney Howard Simon told Local 10. "Their goal should be zero arrests, not two thousand arrests. If police are going to use arrests not as a last resort, but as a first resort they're going to make the situation worse."

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kyle Munzenrieder