Miami Beach police say a spring breaker from Indiana tried to entice an “unruly crowd” of hundreds of people to riot Sunday evening and defy officers’ commands.
Jovan Washington, 30, is facing multiple charges including inciting a riot, disorderly conduct and violating a curfew.
The Sunday-night scene capped of a raucous weekend in Miami Beach, Florida where thousands of pandemic-weary tourists have flocked to in recent weeks, drawn by the state’s loose virus-control rules.
Around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, a rapid intervention team from the Miami Beach Police Department responded to the area of 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue regarding multiple 911 calls of “an extremely large crowd” – approximately 400 to 500 people gathered in the area.
The crowd was blocking public roadways, vandalizing property, playing loud music, trespassing, drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, burglarizing, and refusing to disperse, according to a police report obtained by Fox News.
Miami Spring Break
Officers told the crowd to disperse and leave the area, reminding them that the city of under a “state of emergency,” police said, adding that the crowd was “uncooperative” and continued their disorderly behavior.
Police said officers observed Washington “enticing the crowd with music from speakers.” They said the people Washington was enticing were observed jumping up and down on vehicles, causing the roofs to cave in, the windshields to shatter. Police also said they observed these people making “obscene” gestures towards officers and taunting them.
The officers who tried to disperse the crowds were “in fear for their safety” because of the growing aggressiveness of the crowd, police said.
Officers made contact with Washington on 6th Street and Euclid Avenue. Police said he was observered playing loud music from a speaker and inciting the “unruly crowd to not follow” the officers’ commands.
A man stands on a car as crowds defiantly gather in the street while a speaker blasts music an hour past curfew in Miami Beach, Fla., on Sunday, March 21, 2021.
(Miami Herald via AP)
Police said the officers were “largely outnumbered” by the crowd and that Washington’s actions provoked the crowd to become more hostile to the officers.
The officers were eventually able to confiscate the speaker and arrest Washington. He was transported to MPD jail for processing.
Washington appeared in court on Tuesday and posted a $2,500 bond, WPLG Local 10 reported.
He reportedly told the judge: “My speaker wasn’t even that loud.”
A man is arrested while out a few hours past curfew in Miami Beach, Fla., on Sunday.
This spring break season, police have made more than 1,000 arrests and seized nearly 100 guns. Things got so out of hand that Miami Beach Police brought in SWAT teams to disperse pepper bullets and called in law enforcement officers from at least four other agencies.
Ultimately, the city decided to order an emergency 8 p.m. curfew that will likely extend well into April after the spring break season is over.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.