MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For the second day in a row, hundreds gathered in downtown Miami to protest the death of George Floyd, a Minnesota man who died in police custody last Monday.
The downtown protest was one of several held across South Florida and the nation.
Police had to use tear gas to disperse a protest in Fort Lauderdale.
The demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Miami holding signs and chanting the name of George Floyd and “No justice, no peace,” and “I can’t breathe.”
Miami-Dade police announced they had made 28 arrests. This is what they tweeted:
#Update: Our Rapid Deployment Force, Special Response, & Priority Response Teams made a total of 28 arrests throughout the protests in downtown Miami today. There was no damage to MDPD vehicles, @PortMiami, or the Government Center. pic.twitter.com/D0MLuuNqHc
— Miami-Dade Police (@MiamiDadePD) June 1, 2020
At 5 p.m., the crowds had gathered at the Torch of Friendship near Bayside Marketplace.
The marchers had intended to go to the Miami Police Station, but marchers changed course and ended up near the shopping center.
At 5:30 p.m., protesters started walking north toward the AAA Arena, where they were met by a line of Miami-Dade police officers holding shields and wearing helmets.
They prevented demonstrators from entering the PortMiami exit from Biscayne Boulevard. Police used a bullhorn to issue a warning to the marchers, they said this is an ‘unlawful assembly and that they had 15 minutes to disperse.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez backed the county police department’s decision to cite Florida Statute 870.04, which allows “officers to disperse riotous assembly.”
“The Miami-Dade police officers, they were making sure that the protesters didn’t get into the [Port of Miami],” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “Does it lead to higher tensions? Yeah. But I don’t know of a way we can protect our officers when there is a potential for this to escalate. And so it’s a fine line.”
Police told protesters to break-up the gathering or face consequences.
At 6 p.m., protesters were heading north on Biscayne Blvd. and had made a turn on NE 8th Street.
A group of protesters had made it to the westbound lanes of I-395 stopping all traffic.
That group ran into a line of FHP troopers and turned around.
Chopper 4 images also showed a group of people riding ATVs and motorcycles.
By 7 p.m., the majority of the marchers had headed north on Biscayne Boulevard. There was a heavy police presence in downtown Miami.
The protesters had reached the 3600 block of Biscayne Boulevard by 7:30 p.m., as they continued to walk north. CBS4 cameras captured drivers honking in support of the marchers.
By 8 p.m., the curfew for the City of Miami was in effect, as protesters were making their way back south on Biscayne Boulevard. The crowds had dwindled.
Police were letting the marchers walk peacefully back towards downtown Miami.
CBS4 cameras captured police officers in riot gear and still others on bicycles.
Authorities detonated a loud device to disperse demonstrators near the CVS store near Biscayne Boulevard and the AAA Arena. Someone had tried to break the store’s front window.
By 9 p.m., the Miami-Dade countywide curfew was in effect and there were hardly any demonstrators left in downtown Miami.
Police used a bullhorn to remind anyone who was left in the area about the curfew.
On Saturday afternoon, the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III, tweeted the following:
To the residents of @MiamiDadeCounty, and to those who are lawfully and peacefully protesting, we all agree that the death of Mr. George Floyd was both tragic and abusive. Please understand that we are all in agreement that justice needs to be served. (1/4)…
— Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III (@MDPD_Director)
On Friday night, Chopper 4 captured several protesters breaking into at least one Bayside business and there were reports of looting.
Several police vehicles were damaged and some were set on fire.
On Saturday morning, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez set an 8 p.m. curfew for the city of Miami.
Mayor Gimenez, who imposed a curfew for Friday night, also said the entire county would be under curfew starting at 9 p.m.
Mayor Gimenez postponed the reopening of county beaches for another day.
Fifty-seven people were arrested in South Florida on Friday night.
Miami-Dade transit will resume on Monday, county authorities confirmed.
Meanwhile, the office of Governor Ron DeSantis said that 400 members of the Florida National Guard had been called up to support local law enforcement.