MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami.com) – In front of Miami Beach City Hall Friday evening, a small crowd gathered for a rally calling for an end to Urban Beach weekend after the shootings and arrests that happened last weekend.
The group gathered after launching a Facebook page, now “liked” by more than 5,600 Facebookers. The group was made up of residents and business owners who said they are fed up with the annual Urban Beach weekend.
The group said that last weekend’s fatal shooting on Collins Avenue that was captured on video was the last straw.
“It’s complete debauchery in the streets and nobody takes two seconds to think, what is this weekend about,” said military veteran Walker Bruttschell. “It’s about my brothers, those marines, those soldiers, those soldiers and sailors who lost their live fighting for this country.”
But, the Urban Beach weekend, which attracts a predominantly African-American audience, has some saying it’s a racial issue. Residents say that’s far from the truth.
“This is not an issue about white against black,” said resident Mykel Tulloch. “I live on the beach. What I’ve had to experience in the last 10 years; it’s just unacceptable. A lot of thugs come to South Beach and think it’s time to wild out.”
The owner of Mango’s, David Wallack, admits to making money over the weekend. Still, he said it’s not worth it. He’s fed up with the violence is offering a solution.
“We need to put on a mega three-day Woodstock type concert which also features Beyonce, Kanye West, along with Latin night with Gloria and her friends. It will cost money, this city has money.”
But in the end, the protesters had one simple message for city leaders about Urban Beach weekend.
“We’re saying to the city that the safety of our residents, our businesses and our visitors is never negotiable,” said Frank Fiorentino, vice-president of the residents association on Ocean Drive.