Miami tourist charged with inciting a riot after hundreds seen partying in viral video

Jovan Washington, among hundreds of others, were out celebrating spring break despite Miami's curfew

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According to Miami Beach Police, Jovan Washington was accused of inciting a riot due to his music speaker. Among hundreds of others, Washington was out celebrating spring break, which resulted in an ‘unruly crowd.’ 

Washington was charged with the crime on Sunday evening and appeared in court on Tuesday, per Fox News. The Indiana native was officially charged with disorderly conduct, violating a curfew, and inciting a riot.

Read More: Miami spring breakers arrested, accused of drugging, raping woman who later died

The city of Miami implemented a curfew due to thousands of tourists flocking to the city due to its loosened COVID-19 restrictions. On Sunday evening, Miami Beach Police responded to calls near 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue that a crowd of about 400-500 people had gathered.

Miami Beach Declares Curfew As Spring Break Crowds Grow
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – MARCH 21: People gather while exiting the area as an 8pm curfew goes into effect on March 21, 2021 in Miami Beach, Florida. College students have arrived in the South Florida area for the annual spring break ritual, prompting city officials to impose an 8pm to 6am curfew as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Miami Beach police have reported hundreds of arrests and stepped up deployment to control the growing spring break crowds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Officers claimed Washington was “enticing the crowd with music from speakers.” They also claimed they feared for their lives because they were outnumbered and people were making “obscene” faces and taunting them.

The partyers were accused of burglary, damaging property, playing loud music, and being intoxicated in the streets.

But when the crowd was instructed to disperse, they refused to leave and were “uncooperative”, resulting in officers declaring a state of emergency. Officers claim since Washington’s speaker played a major role in the chaos, they had to wait until the crowd died down before arresting him.

During his first court appearance on Tuesday, Washington told the judge that his speaker “wasn’t even that loud.” Washington then posted a $2,500 bond.

“It’s really been a dangerous week,” said Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez of Miami Beach Police. “We’ve seen a lot of fights, we’ve seen a lot of viral social media videos that are disturbing, and as a police department we don’t deny that.”

Jovan Washington Image: Facebook

Read More: Miami police shown punching, kicking Black man in cellphone video

As reported by theGrio, Black leaders are not impressed by how the police are managing the spring breakers.

The police tactics used to disperse crowds this weekend in Miami Beach are being decried by Black leaders, who are calling the curfew crackdown “unacceptable.” 

Despite Miami Beach being a popular tourist destination — even during the height of the coronavirus pandemic — when the crowds turned Black and brown, police utilized SWAT tactics like pepper balls and sound cannons to disperse them. 

“I was very disappointed,” Stephen Hunter Johnson, chairman of Miami-Dade’s Black Affairs Advisory Committee, said Sunday morning. “I think when they’re young Black people [on South Beach], the response is, ‘Oh my God, we have to do something.’”

Glendon Hall, chairman of the Black Affairs Advisory Committee of Miami Beach, told the Tyler Morning Telegraph the arrival of SWAT trucks caused tensions to rise, and the deployment of pepper-balls set off a panic. 

Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements said he is internally reviewing why pepper balls were used on tourists. He opined, predictably, “I think officers felt threatened at the time.”

“There has to be an element there,” said Clements, “of either the crowd fighting or coming at officers.”

Additional reporting by Biba Adams

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