The ACLU got this much right: Urban Beach Week is a black thing.
Most reporters call it “Urban Beach Week.”
But others – especially those in attendance at the annual Memorial Day celebration of violence, lawlessness, drugs and everything hip hop – know it as Black Beach Week.
The website BlackBeachWeek.com said 450,000 black people will be in Miami Beach this weekend for a “takeover.”
Residents of Miami Beach hate it. Especially after the debacle of 2011. Some local reaction: Antonino Lopez told CBS news in Miami the gathering ruins his town:
“It shows our city as nothing short of a war zone – Filthy streets, drive-by shooting, multiple cars crashed in the process, and total chaos on the streets. This is unacceptable and must be controlled before we totally lose our city, tourism & residents.”
“There isn’t a residential street in South Beach not affected by tons of garbage, crime to our vehicles, excessive noise 24 hours a day, and simply a lack of respect for our community, citizens and property. Make the difficult but correct decision to put an end to Urban Weekend in Miami Beach.”
Doug Giles in Townhall.com describes the effect of the crowds of people on the usually pleasant beach town:
“This past weekend the Urban Beach people hit their nadir: They turned South Beach, America’s Riviera, into a war zone.
“Collins Avenue on Memorial Day was indeed memorable but in a tawdry, satanic sense as the Urban Beach Weekers made our Cosmopolitan playground look more like Cairo, complete with attempted cop killing.
“Yes, during this year’s festivities the Urban Beach Weekers trashed the historic Art Deco streets, screamed, yelled and blasted music 24/7, and then, of course, there’s the attempted murder of our local police. Yep, one of the ‘tourists’ tried to run over several cops with his vehicle and then shot at them, at which point a gunfight ensued between one of these winners and Miami’s cops that made anything John Yoo has produced look lame.”
“Just walk the streets, get drunk, be rowdy, go to jail. Me personally I wouldn’t even go over there. I haven’t been there probably in the last two or three years.”
The local press and police have a hard time describing the enormity of the event. Day-of-the-event TV coverage usually features the standard “fun in the sun” stories.
But the nature and extent of the crime is often under reported, both by the police and the media. For example, it wasn’t until a year later that The New York Times got around to talking about what happened in 2011, minus, of course, any reference to the central organizing feature of the event:
“Last year a melee broke out, and employees hustled out the knife-wielding brawlers. The restaurant then shut down for two days. ‘We had a small riot,’ said Jason Starkman, the owner. ‘I can’t take that risk anymore with my staff.’
“A few blocks away at Mango’s Tropical Cafe on Ocean Drive, a popular club and cabaret, David Wallack, the owner, said that after last year’s event his staff voted overwhelmingly to close this weekend. Mango’s decided to remain open but Mr. Wallack has removed the sidewalk cafe to protect customers; a shuttle bus will ferry employees to their cars because last year several were robbed of their tips.
“Worse still, Mr. Wallack said, the event chased away other customers and was a financial loss for the cafe.
Not to worry: Local police say 2012 was a lot better. They only arrested 321 people, and that was after turning Miami Beach into a armed camp with helicopters, SWAT teams, armies of police, barricades, and scanners that checked every car that entered the city to make sure it was not stolen. That is down from more than 1,000 people arrested in years past.
This year, Miami Beach promises more police. More high tech equipment. More cameras. More watch towers. Even a special vehicle with heat detecting equipment that cannot be found anywhere in the world outside of the armed forces.
Some cops say a dark beach in Miami Beach is more dangerous than a back alley in a big city.
Up in Atlanta, a newspaper columnist said large gatherings of black people are “extensions of the civil rights movement.” And it is not fair that so many towns, like Miami Beach, “despise the ground we walk on,” said Jineea Butler of Atlanta Word Daily.
“Remember Freak Nik in Atlanta, the Greekfest in Philadelphia, Black Family Reunion in Daytona Beach, Jones Beach in New York and Virginia Beach Labor Day Weekend? Most of these events have been canceled because the local residents in each town voted against hosting our events.”
The news stories from the other events document the same kind of activity, but few if any, mention the crowds are black.
Butler is not shy about mentioning that. And she does not care for how she is treated at these black events. She says “respect is a two-way street.” And lack of respect towards black people in Miami Beach is why the town is so chaotic on Memorial Days.
Butler has a solution, but there is one small problem:
“We need to sue the city of Miami for violating our civil rights this weekend, but the problem, my friends, is our behavior detracts from making our case. We view shootings and killings as a daily occurrence back home, but people from Miami frown on such occurrences.”
Lots of people are way past frowning.
Butler may express some curious ambivalence about the racial violence and lawlessness at Miami Beach, but the ACLU does not. To them, people who do not care for the moveable race riot known as Black Beach Week are racist.
The group has been sending out emails to reporters and running radio commercials on local black stations to remind people if police violate their civil rights, they should report the misconduct to the ACLU website.
According to the Miami Herald, the ACLU will be on “high alert. The group’s local leaders say Miami Beach’s increased security measures could be considered discriminatory.
This is not just talk. At Black Biker Week up the road in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the crowds became so violent and abusive from 2000 to 2005 that businesses boarded up for the week. The high crime and hyper-violence associated with the event led city officials to enact a series of laws effectively banning motorcycle rallies in their city. The NAACP cried racial discrimination and sued to reverse the law. It won. The businesses that closed during Black Biker Week were found to be guilty of racial discrimination and were forced to remain open.
Today, the NAACP has a hot line where people can phone in complaints of discrimination against anyone who has a problem with Black Bike Week or its participants. No news if the NAACP has a hotline for the victims of shootings and violence and mayhem in Myrtle Beach during the week.
The ACLU is using the same play book in Miami Beach this weekend. According to the Herald: “We wish the city of Miami Beach would welcome visitors to Urban Beach Week, who happen to be black, the same way it welcomes visitors to every other big event, like Art Basel or the boat show,” ACLU Miami president Jeff Borg wrote in an email. “Instead, city leaders have been working hard to suppress this one group.”