MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tuesday marked the fourth day of protests in South Florida.
One was held outside the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and another was held in Coral Springs.
The demonstration held outside Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office in Miami was organized by the group Dream Defenders.
“I think not doing anything is just allowing the problem to continue. We’ve seen this time and time again and I feel bad for not speaking out ahead of time,” said protester Natalia Jaime-Hughes.
Organized by the group the Dream Defenders, it was about a few hundred people that came together. Miami Dade Police stood across the street from where they gathered.
“I’ve had the talks with my parents of ‘oh be careful talking to the police. Don’t talk back. Be respectful’. And I don’t want to have that talk with my children I shouldn’t have to have that talk with my children. I think everyone should be treated equally,” said protester Jamal Pinckney.
Earlier Tuesday morning, in their virtual commission meeting, Mayor Carlos Gimenez addressed the protests and praised the work of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
“We will protect the rights of the demonstrators to demonstrate and voice their opinion, as long as they do it peacefully,” the Mayor says. “But we will not tolerate any kind of destruction of property or putting people’s lives in danger.”
“Again it’s just that cycle of— something happens, riot, then silence. Like it has to stop. We need to put down our mark and that’s it. We demand change,” said demonstrator Carlos Cordova.
Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredy “Freddy” Ramirez III recommended during the meeting to extend the curfew through the weekend.
At the end of the day, it will up to Gimenez to make that decision. But for now, a curfew is still in place for tonight from 9 pm to 6 am.
On Monday, protests in Downtown Miami remained peaceful. Protesters marched from the Freedom Tower to the State Attorney’s Office near the metro justice building.
Protesters are rallying against racial injustice sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week. Only one of the four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest has been charged.
An organizer for the protests in Downtown Miami said they plan to continue protesting until there each officer is arrested.
“We will continue this every single day, every single week, every single hour until we have four criminal convictions for those officers who slain that black man for all the world to see,” the organizer said.
Miami-Dade police reported no arrests or incidents from Monday’s protest.
Before the protest, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and county’s police department honored Benjamin Torrens. He was among others who helped stop people from badly damaging a CVS Sunday night after a protest ended.
“Who would I be if I didn’t run up and join them? So, that’s exactly what I did,” Torrens said.
He also gave a speech to encourage everyone in the county to be proud, stand up for what’s right, and protect the community.
“We must protect or diversity. To do so, we must be the vanguard and say that ‘black lives matter’. From George Floyd to Arthur McDuffie and beyond, we in Miami stand together against violence, against racism, persecution, and hate,” Torrens said.
On Saturday, Miami-Dade instituted a nightly curfew a 9 p.m. countywide curfew order until further notice.
Broward County issued a seven-day curfew on Sunday which mandates that residents stay indoors from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said despite some violence over the weekend in Fort Lauderdale, he welcomes protestors and their messages.
The sheriff’s office shared a video of one deputy praying with a protestor. Tony said he prayed with protestors Sunday at BSO headquarters. He said he doesn’t want to see bad apples cloud the message of protestors.
The sheriff said he hears their demands and has been working since his appointment to improve relations between deputies and the black community.
“That’s why I am here. That’s why I’ve been putting so much effort on police brutality, cutting down on the physical activities of officers beating on people and terminating them when needed,” he said.
Since he was appointed, he says for the first time BSO has the most diverse command staff. He has a Use of Force Review Board to hold deputies accountable. And there is a new professional standards committee made up of homeowners and judges.
On Monday, the sheriff said two deputies, one black and the other white, were told to give up their guns, keys, and badges for violating the department’s social media policy. They’ve been placed on restrictive administrative duty during an internal investigation.
The sheriff also mentioned two previous cases where deputies were fired. One involves a teen whose head was slammed on the ground. Another was after a man in handcuffs was beaten.