A spring break celebration in Miami Beach, Florida led to over 100 partygoers being arrested over the weekend after a crowd became unruly, with two police officers being injured, as reported by CNN.
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The incident took place on Friday night, where a crowd allegedly began surrounding and taunting a group of police officers. The Miami Beach Police Department’s official Twitter account described the crowd as “disorderly,” and said that pepper balls were used to disperse the crowd as dozens were arrested.
On Saturday, another 30 or so were arrested on a wider variety of charges unrelated to the Friday incident, including charges of weapons and drug possession. A spokeswoman for the city of Miami Beach admitted that such arrests were actually quite common for every annual spring break celebration.
The nature of the arrests further solidifies Florida’s status as one of the freest states in the country when it comes to coronavirus lockdowns, or lack thereof, as none of the arrests were for lockdown violations such as masks or inadequate social distancing.
Local Democratic officials used the weekend’s events as an excuse to complain about the state’s lack of such rules as a mask mandate or forced social distancing. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (D-Fla.) said that “we’re seeing too much spring break activity,” and that “we’ve got a problem with too many people coming here to let loose. We are concerned. It’s very challenging.”
Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) has been widely praised for his handling of the pandemic in his state. After initially following the nationwide trend of locking down Florida’s economy for a short period of time, DeSantis declared that fighting the virus was not worth the economic toll and strains on people’s mental health as a result of such lockdowns, and reopened the entire state. His office has repeatedly shot down any attempts by local authorities to implement mask mandates, business closures, and penalties such as fines, declaring that such measures would not be enforced by state authorities.