Florida’s Miami Beach is still reeling from two shocking execution-style murders on crowded streets during spring break last weekend and business owners told The Post they fear the lawlessness and carnage will continue over the next three days.
“These people have zero respect for any property, for anybody. Drugs, prostitution, you name it we’ve seen it,” said Sebastian Labno, who co-owns a number of restaurants in the area.
“You walk on the street on a daily basis and you’ve got guys coming up to you, [asking] if I want coke, if I want marijuana.”
“You walk on the street on a daily basis and you’ve got guys coming up to you, [asking] if you want coke, if you want marijuana,” said Sebastian Labno, who co-owns a number of restaurants in the area.
“The people that come to Miami Beach in the last couple of years are no spring breakers,” Labno said. “They’re adults. They’re troublemakers.”
Labno, 50, added he’d seen people being attacked after card games, others openly engaging in prostitution and a group recently began mixing what appeared to be cocaine on the front patio of one of his poke restaurants along Collins Avenue.
He told The Post he’s concerned for the safety of his patrons, employees and himself. Labno has frequently reported such incidents to police, but said the lawlessness is affecting his businesses, which include high-end sushi restaurant Nossa Omakase and Koa Poke – which closed early last Friday and Saturday.
“This week we had nothing but cancellations. People say, ‘We’re too afraid to come,’” he said, adding Nossa has been closed all week following the killings.
Last Friday, shots rang out around 10:40 p.m. near Seventh Street and Ocean Drive, in the city, according to police. Two people were rushed to a local hospital, where one, a 21-year-old college student from Georgia named Jordan Idahosa, succumbed to his injuries. The other victim was critically hurt.
Days later, a man was shot at point-blank range in a caught-on-camera execution.
His accused killer, 24-year-old Dontavious Polk, allegedly used a stolen semiautomatic gun to unleash at least 11 bullets into the busy sidewalk along Ocean Drive near 11th Street. He was later arrested and charged for the targeted attack, police said. The victim, who has not been identified, could not be saved.
“I could never go on Ocean Drive at night, personally,” Labno added. “During the spring break, especially, it has turned into literally the wild, wild west. Last year, people were shooting each other. This year, people are shooting each other. And it’s just a matter of time that one of the employees is going to get caught in the cross-lines.”
Miami Beach City Commission’s opted not to institute a curfew for the weekend, when thousands of out-of-towners are flooding into Miami Beach for the Ultra Music Festival.
The commission voted against the curfew during a Monday afternoon emergency meeting, after the weekend of violence.
City Commissioner Ricky Arriola argued curfews are not “a long-term solution,” and pointed to the fact many people descending on the area weren’t partying in bars.
“We’re taking it out on law-abiding businesses,” he argued. “What we have to do is police our streets, make our public safe and work with our business community … Because the crowd that’s coming don’t go to our bars, don’t go to our nightclubs. They party in the streets.”
Instead, city officials prohibited the sale of alcohol after 6 p.m., despite protests from Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements.
“I’m not going to say that it makes us any safer,” Clements said, although he conceded crowds are known to congregate around liquor stores.
Mayor Dan Gelber told the commission the city has “a real problem with the number of people that are coming, and the guns that are coming.”
“It feels as though we’re balancing business interests with the public safety. I understand that’s a balancing that happens. I just don’t think after this weekend that’s a balancing we can do,” Gelber said.
He added: “We can’t balance that interest when we’ve had two people killed over the last weekend in as many days, and our police are telling us in no uncertain terms that it is a continued dangerous situation.”
Ian Hendry, a property manager at The Netherland — a rental building located on 13th Street and Ocean Drive which houses popular sports bar Finnegan’s Way — said the crowd which makes its way to Miami Beach to wreak havoc is not the horde of college kids people might expect for spring break, but that it remains confined to certain parts of the city.
“It’s always reported as a spring break problem, he said, adding that instead, the people visiting the city are coming “during the spring break time and are going to cause trouble no matter what.”
He added her hasn’t seen much trouble this year, but “I do not go south of 11th during spring break, that’s for sure.”
Read the full article here
Discussion about this post