UPDATED May 31, 2011: Miami Beach police have released arrest figures for the 2011 four-day Memorial Day weekend. Police made a total of 431 arrests this year: Sixty-six arrests were for felonies and 365 for misdemeanors. That's up from the 2010 weekend when police made 341 arrests.
I'm getting a lot of visits to my blog from readers looking for arrest figures from this weekend's party on South Beach. (One visit came from the Department of Justice in Washington.)
So let's cut right to the chase.
Here's the tally for this year's, (2010,) Urban Beach Week on Miami Beach according to CBS4.
According to Miami Beach police, they made 341 arrests over the four-day period (Thursday May 27th – Sunday May 30th). That's down from 454 arrests in 2009. In addition, police say most of the arrests were misdemeanors and did not report any major incidents.CBS4 also reports that Miami Beach towed nearly 700 vehicles. That number is higher than the 450 towed vehicles the AP is reporting.
The run-up to this year's festivities was greeted with varying degrees of hysteria - some of it warranted - but most of it just the usual kvetching.
``We are a city that is being advertised as party 'til you puke, come to South Beach,'' retired lawyer and activist Frank Del Vecchio told Miami Beach commissioners in April.
Here's a look back at past Urban Beach Weekend arrest figures courtesy of the Miami Herald archives.
Two of those arrested were pro athletes: Miami Dolphins defensive end Randy Starks and boxer Jermain Taylor, arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence.
The Herald's Barry Jackson reported that, "Starks was charged with aggravated battery early Sunday [May 24] after allegedly veering his slow-moving truck into an officer trying to stop him on Ocean Drive."
Taylor, according to the Herald's Joan Fleischman, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest:
[Taylor] stopped the car in the road, blocking traffic. When told to move, he climbed back in the Rolls, drove it another 100 feet, then stopped again. He got out and "began to yell and dance," a police report says. A crowd of about 50 gathered.
Officers tried to arrest Taylor for breach of the peace when he resisted and pushed a uniformed cop in the shoulder, the report says. Police got him to the ground, cuffed him and booked him into Miami -Dade County Jail at 2:23 a.m. Memorial Day .
approx. 80 guns seized
Miami Beach City officials called the 2007 Memorial Day weekend "incident-free," despite the "city's first two homicides of the year," reported the Miami Herald's Tania Valdemoro.
Two men were killed in the parking lot of David's Cafe near Lincoln Road and Meridian Ave. when someone pulled a gun and fired into a crowd of men who were fighting.
One of the witnesses to the shooting was rapper Fat Joe.
76 guns seized
cost to city: $944,000
Cops arrested more people during the 2006 weekend than any other weekend before or since: 1,010. They also seized 76 guns.
According to the Herald's Elaine de Valle, "Miami Beach police spokesman Robert Hernandez said most of the [misdemeanor] charges were for disorderly conduct, drinking in public, public drug use or minor possession."
One of those arrested in 2006 was Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, who tried "to intervene after his teammate Awvee Storey had been arrested by Miami Beach police on Collins Avenue.
"Arenas and Storey were both charged with misdemeanors for disobeying police," according to the Herald.
(Arenas made headlines again earlier this year when he was charged with felony gun possession when he took a gun into his team's dressing room.)
56 guns seized
Despite 115 felony arrests and 56 guns being seized, in 2005, Miami Beach city spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez told the Herald that the biggest problem was, "the fliers and posters plastering the city. We definitely saw an increase in that this year, and we will be going after those responsible for code fines." According to the Herald, "city employees collected more than 4,000 posters and handbills that were posted on public property and vehicles."
A shooting death was loosely connected to the weekend festivities.
The Herald reported that a
"20-year-old Hallandale Beach man was shot in the head early Sunday from a car headed to Miami Beach on Interstate 395 in downtown Miami . It happened not long after he joked and flirted with a carload of girls, attracting the attention of the man accused of killing him.Miami Beach police caught the shooter in Collins Avenue traffic at Seventh Street in Miami Beach about a half-hour later in response to a description of his vehicle broadcast by Miami police.
Miami Beach police Maj. Carlos Noriega told the Herald, "This was by far the biggest Memorial Day weekend ever, including 2001." The weekend crowds were estimated at 200,000.
From the Herald:
[T]here were some pockets of discontent with the intense police presence.
After a fight broke out on Ocean Drive near 10th Street on Saturday night, Beach officers in riot gear ordered the crowd to disperse and briefly closed the road. Some observers questioned whether the full riot gear was necessary to diffuse the incident.
For some, just the numbers of police were offensive. ``There are too many police out here,'' said hip-hop fan Tyson Bennett, 26. ``There aren't enough people out here to justify that many police.''
Of those misdemeanors the Herald reported, "One person was arrested for playing the car radio too loud."
"By comparison," according to the Herald, "169 people were arrested during Winter Music Conference this year, 99 during Winter Party and 89 on New Year's Eve weekend."
Some of 2003's action as reported by the Herald:
Members of the Miami Beach Police Field Force, a squad of 40 officers equipped with shields, wooden batons, tear-gas canisters and paint-ball guns, were brought in on at least three occasions.
They were called when somebody was said to have flashed a gun at 12th Street and Washington Avenue and again when a brawl broke out at Billboardlive at 5 a.m., sending four people to the hospital with minor injuries.
The squad also arrived when crowds from ZNO nightclub spilled onto Washington Avenue just after 3 a.m. Dozens of people said either Mace or pepper spray was used inside when a fight broke out. Club ZNO representatives could not be reached for comment Sunday afternoon.
A year after being caught unprepared for the Memorial Day crowd that descended upon the city in 2001, cops were ready.
The Herald's Nicole White wrote: "Miami Beach officials and event organizers are calling this year's Memorial Day weekend festivities a success attributable to one thing - planning."
"Police responded to two stabbings, no one was seriously hurt."
Miami Beach police "were [also] involved in one of the weekend's most disruptive moments. Officers shot mace pellets to break up a fight Sunday on Washington Avenue. The sound resulted in a stampede outside the nightclub Level," reported the Herald.
This is the one that started it all.
Everyone in the world knew that Urban Beach Weekend was coming. Except for the cops and city leaders.
Reported the Miami Herald:
Miami Beach Commissioner Nancy Liebman, a mayoral candidate, wrote in a letter to concerned citizens, ``This Memorial Day Weekend was a tragedy for the City of Miami Beach in many respects.City officials vowed never to be caught off-guard again and it's a vow they haven't broken.
``We degraded our worldwide image which we had carefully restored over the last six or seven years.''