MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez blames outside agitators for inciting violence at a George Floyd protest in Miami on Saturday.
“The residents of Miami Dade County, the good residents of Miami Dade County, who are rightly expressing their anger and what happened, but actually outside agitators, professional agitators that are here to cause trouble. We think that we have some in our midst,” said Mayor Gimenez to CBS4 News. “And our message is do not be swayed by these professional agitators asking you to do something, partake in something you shouldn’t be if you are actually participating in one of these demonstrations.”
CBS4’s Jim DeFede also reporting Saturday night that senior law enforcement sources also believe outside agitators are responsible.
Jim said on CBS4 News at 11, “Police have been monitoring social media for the past couple of days and found out that in the last 48 hours, there were some high level meetings between many of the police chiefs in Miami and South Florida, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, a number of conference calls, where they were briefed on the idea that there are outside agitators.”
However, it’s not known who they are.
“The Attorney General was talking about Antifa; the President has talked about Antifa. We’ve been hearing these reports from other places around the country talking about outside agitators who are taking advantage of the situation. So at the very least, what I can tell you is that the backdrop for the police was that they believed going into tonight, that there were going to be these outside agitators who are going to come in and try to capitalize and use the peaceful protesters to try to ignite something larger,” said DeFede. “And I can also tell you that in the course of the protest today, police detained two individuals who they found backpacks filled with rocks and rubber hammers and who they believe are linked to various groups, you know, that are on the left, who sort of that Antifa type of wing who they believe came to Miami to help instigate things. They’ve been tracking them for days in terms of social media, they’ve been tracking others in terms of social media.”
One other point Jim wanted to make was about putting Saturday’s violence into perspective.
“Compared to the images that are coming out of Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Washington DC, Miami’s disturbances were fairly well contained, and they’ve dispersed fairly quickly after a few hours. Now we’ll have to see how it plays out overnight but I don’t think that we’re at that same level and if this is all we have, this isn’t a bad night for Miami at the end of the day. It’s not good overall, but this could have been a lot worse.”
After the dust settles on Saturday night’s events, Jim says, “From what I understand, there is going to be meetings between members of Black Lives Matter, and some of the other community groups who are going to sit down with the Miami Dade Police Chiefs Association to try to come up with some ideas as to how to build confidence in the community, that the police agencies here are doing better.” He added, “That’s a good step. The departments themselves need to do a better job. They need to focus more their attention on themselves, and you cannot be a good cop if you see bad cops doing bad things. It takes the entire police force to police itself. It can’t just be done from the outside and the business community and other members of this community need to step forward as well.”