Miami Beach, FL – Miami Beach police are struggling as Spring Break and coronavirus shutdowns collided in South Beach, and now a viral video of an arrest has activists crying “racism” (video below).
The incident occurred at about 7 p.m. on March 11 while Miami Beach police officers were attempting to disperse large “unruly crowds” in the 800- and 900-blocks of Ocean Drive, WPLG reported.
Officers received a call that other officers needed assistance with multiple fights in the 900-block of Ocean Drive and responded quickly.
As they ran up on the scene, one of the officers saw a woman punching a police vehicle and cursing, WPLG reported.
The woman fled when she saw officers approaching.
An officer chased her southbound on Ocean Drive and that’s when 19-year-old Jaises Elam started “chasing (the first officer) in an attempt to obstruct him from making an arrest,” according to police.
While chasing the first officer, she collided with a second officer who was joining in the chase.
A video captured on cell phone showed a police officer and a young woman, who were both running, collided in the middle of the street and both hit the ground hard.
The officer got up a split second before the woman tried to get up, and he pushed her back onto the pavement, the video showed.
The video showed the woman kicked the officer and he turned back and crouched down over her.
The video showed the officer appeared to be holding the woman near or on her neck, pinning her to the pavement.
The woman struggled and kicked the officer several more times in the video before additional officers arrived and helped the first officer to flip Elam onto her stomach and put her in handcuffs.
The police report said that Elam had been chasing an officer in an attempt to prevent him from making an arrest when she crashed into the other officer, WPLG reported.
“Ms. Elam collided with me during the chase, resulting in both of us falling to the ground,” the officer wrote in the report. “As I got up, I attempted to catch up with the [other officer] to assist with the arrest. Ms. Elam quickly turned towards me and violently kicked me with both feet.”
“I subdued Ms. Elam by holding her to the ground until other police officers arrive,” the report continued. “Ms. Elam was soon arrested without further incident.”
Elam was charged with battery on a police officer and resisting an officer without violence, WPLG reported.
She complained of soreness and was seen by medics at the scene before she was transported for booking.
The police report said all of the officers involved in Elam’s arrest were wearing bodycams, WPLG reported.
The chairman of the local Miami-Dade NAACP chapter raised a ruckus after he saw the video of the arrest.
“What I saw there was a blatant disregard and disrespect for the visitors — black visitors — on the beach and somehow it appeared to me that they had the approval to do so,” Ruben Roberts said.
But police official pushed back and said that race had nothing to do with the incident, WPLG reported.
“If you come to Miami Beach to cause problems, we will intervene and take enforcement action,” Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements warned.
The local police union released a statement in support of the officers, WPLG reported.
“The Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police Lodge (FOP) #8 fully supports and defends our officers’ actions as it pertains to the recent videos that were posted online,” FOP President Kevin Millan said in a statement. “Although three (3) separate videos were posted, this is one (1) chaotic incident involving a hostile crowd. The videos, along with the police officers body camera footage, captured the hostile crowd, fights, and disorderly actions of numerous spring breakers. We are confident that a fair and thorough investigation will result in all officers being cleared of any wrongdoing.”
Millan called out Roberts for trying to cause a divide at a time when the city needed to come together, WPLG reported.
“We are offended to have such a label as racists used to describe us by opportunists,” the police union boss said. “The Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police is particularly saddened at the use of this label at a time when we should be focused on the COVID-19 public health crisis. Our primary concern is the safety and welfare of our residents and tourists.”
Miami Mayor Dan Gelber, a former federal prosecutor, stood up for the Miami Beach police officers, the Miami Herald reported.
“To convert this into a racial issue is really unfair,” Gelber said. “Our officers are protecting everyone, including the people coming here and the perpetrators.”
He said police were trying enforce the city’s emergency measures by shutting down crowds, the Miami Herald reported.
“When you have tens of thousands of people in a crowd, that’s what we’re targeting,” the mayor explained. “We’re not targeting a race. We’re targeting crowds.”
The local NAACP has called for the officers involved in Elam’s arrest to be terminated.
Watch video of the incident here below: