Rich Abdill, Miami New Times, May 30, 2011
Before at least seven people were injured or killed in multiple early-morning shootouts Monday, many were saying Sunday night that the scene at South Beach’s Urban Beach Weekend didn’t seem as bad as it had in the past.
The long weekend was expected to draw 300,000 visitors to South Beach this year, with clubs hosting popular hip-hop artists like Chris Brown, DJ Kahled and Rick Ross. The crowd has typically been almost exclusively African American, and Sunday night was no exception.
The weekend has been marked in past years by hundreds of arrests, mostly of black suspects, including more than 1,000 people arrested in the 2006 celebration alone.
But there were certainly crimes happening last night: Marijuana was pervasive and openly smoked on sidewalks, one man was spotted urinating on a Hialeah Police van and employees at a Collins-Street Subway Restaurant said customers had stolen drinks, sandwiches and about a dozen chairs from their store.
Stripping and dancing in the perpetually congested traffic was also frequent–in addition to at least one van with transparent sides driving the streets with women dancing on poles inside, women stuck in traffic simply climbed on top of their cars and gyrated for onlookers.
“I guess she got bored,” goodwill ambassador Nayheera Richard said of one traffic-dancer. “But that’s it. I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary.”
But these “ordinary” events, combined with Monday morning’s gunfire that left one dead and seven–including three police officers–injured, according to the Miami Herald, have left many wondering if this was the final salvo of Urban Beach Weekend.