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Black Leaders Say Miami Beach Spring Break Curfew Crackdown Was 'Unacceptable'

Miami Beach instituted an 8 p.m. curfew Saturday night, enforced with a SWAT truck, pepper balls and sound cannons.
Miami Beach instituted an 8 p.m. curfew Saturday night, enforced with a SWAT truck, pepper balls and sound cannons.

After weeks of uninhibited partying on South Beach by spring breakers, Miami Beach police turned away throngs of people — many of them Black and brown — from world-famous Ocean Drive Saturday night using a SWAT truck, pepper balls and sound cannons.

The tactics were intended to enforce an 8 p.m. curfew announced only hours earlier as a means to rid the city of what police and politicians have described as unruly — and sometimes violent — late-night crowds. And they appeared to have the desired effect: by mid-evening, police tweeted out a picture of the empty intersection at Ocean Drive and Eighth Street.

But the use of force to clear out people of color from South Beach alarmed some Black leaders. And if Miami Beach has openly recoiled at the behavior of at-times chaotic crowds filling the city’s entertainment district every weekend, some in Miami are having a similar reaction to the way the city and its police have handled the presence of thousands of people of color.

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