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Miami Beach Police Stop Enforcing Law Enforced Against Only Black Onlookers

On August 21, 2021, the Miami Herald reported that the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) would cease enforcing city Ordinance 70-8, a law that makes it a crime to “approach or remain within twenty (20) feet of a law enforcement officer engaged in the lawful performance of any legal duty”with the intent to “harass,” “impede” or “provoke any physical response” from that officer.

There have been no arrests under City of Miami Beach (CMB) Ordinance 70-8 since July 26, 2021, according to MBPD spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez. That’s when 28-year-old Khalid Vaughn was nabbed by a swarm of 21 cops who chased his friend, 24-year-old Daltona Crudup, into a South Beach hotel lobby after Crudup allegedly struck another MBPD officer with his scooter. Vaughn, who is Black, used his cellphone to record officers tackling, handcuffing and then assaulting Crudup before they turned on Vaughn.

"Twenty feet away from us," an officer can be heard shouting on the video. “Twenty f--king feet away, let’s go. That ain’t 20 feet!” 

Although Vaughn appears not to know that the officer is citing the language of a city ordinance, he did back up. The officer tackled him anyway, seizing his cellphone and charging him under the new ordinance.

Miami-Dade District Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle dropped the charges against Vaughn and instead went after five MBPD cops who targeted him and Crudup, who is also Black, with retaliatory violence that she deemed “excessive.”

Before that, going back to the time it was passed and adopted on June 23, 2021–ostensibly to protect police during large demonstrations—the law was used to arrest 12 other people, all of whom are also Black.

One of those was Mariyah Maple, 27, who was filming an arrest on July 25, 2021, when MBPD Sgt. Vincent Stella ordered her to step back. Then he picked up his bike and struck her with it before pulling out a canister of pepper spray to douse her with it. Maple, who is Black, ran away and got help to wash out her eyes when another officer spotted her and arrested her under CMB Ordinance 70-8.

Though MBPD's report said Maple “refused to move,” forcing Stella to use pepper spray, the video revealed that she was “standing at a distance,” according to her attorney, Chad Piatrowski. He added that Maple “wasn’t doing anything to disrupt the (MBPD) investigation.”

"She was standing on a public sidewalk,” he continued. “It’s a completely different depiction than the arrest report.”

 

Source: Law&Crime

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