MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two people, charged in the attack of a CBS4 News crew on South Beach, appeared in court on Thursday morning.

CBS4 reporter Bobeth Yates and photojournalist Ebenezer Mends were on South Beach reporting on the Miami Beach Commission passing a resolution to stop alcohol sales past 2 a.m. in the city’s entertainment district as a way to curb unruly behavior.

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However, while working on the story for the 11pm newscast, Mends noticed a fight near 5 Street and Ocean Drive at around 9 p.m. Mends began recording, which prompted a group to come over and demand not to be filmed.

One man placed his hands on Mends’ camera as more people started to show up. Yates intervened once there were about five people surrounding Mends, telling them to back away and that Mends would not stop recording. Someone then knocked Mends’ camera down, causing damage.

Yates dialed police and she followed the people that harassed her and Mends.

WATCH: Bobeth Yates report on attack

 

Just a short time later, Mends’ camera was struck again by two different people before the crowd began to disperse.

At some point during the incident, Yates and Mends had what they believe was alcohol thrown at them.

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“Just really shaken up. Been reporting for a very long time, don’t want to date myself, but about 20 years, and I’ve never been attacked like this on a story,” Yates recalled. “The ironic part was we were actually covering crime on South Beach.”

Police arrested 26 -year-old Billy Lee Bronner and 23-year-old Alysia Nicole Freed and charged them with criminal mischief and battery.

Thursday morning, a judge ordered a $6,500 bond for Freed.

Bronner’s bond was set at $8,500.00

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CBS4 News, “Our city, especially the area your reporter was in, has been projecting itself out as a hard party, party all night area and the result is we’re getting people who want to hard party and we’re getting people with that crowd, coming with pretty bad intentions..”

The city commission voted Wednesday to stop liquor sales in the Entertainment District at 2:00 a.m. instead of 5:00 a.m. They want to change the vibe.

“If you look at other areas, South of 5th Street, Sunset Harbor, Coconut Grove, today, they’re all mixed area they have wonderful entertainment, they also have commercial residential, boutique offices, wonderful shopping.  But if you only have clubs or that intensity of them in one little area, nothing else is going to be there,” Mayor Gelber said.

“We’re all here to have a good time, it’s just a vibe that’s in the air.  You just feel it,” one tourist told CBS4 News.

That’s the vibe the city is hoping for, one without chaos like we saw during spring break or past holiday weekends.  Right now, the city is already gearing up for Memorial Day weekend and the crowds that normally come with it.

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“There will be an enormous amount of extra policing, license plate readers will be on the causeways, Metro-Dade and probably other cities will send some help as will maybe the feds because we’ve seen some guns coming into our city as well,” Mayor Gelber said.

Ted Scouten