Violent Outbursts Lead To Countywide Curfew Following Peaceful Miami Protest

May 31, 2020

Updated Sunday, May 31 at 12:15 p.m.

Editors' note: Charles Durrant Dandy Jr.'s name was misspelled in a previous version of this story.

Miami-Dade County is under a curfew Sunday from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. The curfew will remain "until the order is lifted" after a protest Saturday afternoon led to clashes with police and vandalism.

In the city of Miami, the curfew on Sunday starts at 8 p.m.

More than 1,000 people gathered at the Torch of Friendship in Downtown Miami on Saturday afternoon to protest the death of George Floyd, the black Minneapolis man who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck. That officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Biscayne Boulevard quickly became flooded with people. 

“The main reason why I’m here right now is obviously in protest for George Floyd, but it’s not just that,” said Christopher Trouillot, 24. “It’s police brutality in general towards the black community ... enough is enough. We’re the new generation. It’s time for us to actually put our foot down.”

After multiple laps around the Bayfront area, protesters headed west on Northeast Second Street and walked onto Interstate 95, halting traffic. Helicopters and police cars quickly began circling the area.

Although the protest remained mostly peaceful at this point, some people began vandalizing the roads, police cars, and exit signs. Overall, protesters encountered supporting chants and honks from many stuck in their cars.

"This is honestly probably the most powerful thing I have experienced in my 21 years of life," said Gabrielle D'Alonzo, who was in her car on northbound I-95. "As much as some people might find it an obstruction, I think it's a necessity."

Protester in front of the Miami Police Department holding sign that reads "I CAN'T BREATHE" while taking a knee.
Credit Maybel Cerrato

As more people joined the march, groups broke off and headed to the Miami Police Department, located right off I-95. They were met with a wall of policemen. Madame Holmes, a leadership development consultant for OUR Homes, encouraged protesters to take a knee.

“This is my neighborhood, but I live right next door to racism,” Holmes said.

With children in the front line, leaders of the protest attempted to keep things peaceful. But some in the crowd began to throw items, including water bottles and rocks, at the policemen once they brought out body shields.

Police began deploying tear gas at the crowd and a police car was set on fire. 

 

With damage spreading in areas like Bayside Marketplace, Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami both declared curfews. 

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez addressed the county via video on Twitter.

“I whole-heartedly support peaceful protests … once they get into lawlessness, there is zero tolerance,” Gimenez said. “Miami-Dade police are working with municipal police departments to make sure the curfew is followed.”

Anyone in violation of the curfew is subject to arrest, Miami police announced.