The most blatant organized racial discrimination against African Americans occurred in South Beach during the recent Memorial Day Weekend. It may be the most constitutionally illegal action ever taken by a city government against a specific race in the last 50 years.
What makes the racial discrimination so extraordinary is that the Miami Beach city manager, mayor and the commissioners boldly outlined their plans in a public document easily accessible on the miamibeachfl.gov website as the city prepared for the influx of blacks for Urban Beach
Weekend, when African Americans from all over the country come to enjoy the sunshine and the beach and attend urban music parties. Instead, these visitors were met with police checkpoints, roadblocks, surveillance and seizures, in violation of civil and human rights defined by the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and the U.S. Constitution.
The plan was instituted specifically for Urban Beach Weekend. No other such plan was ever used for other holidays or special events, including two Super Bowls, the MTV awards, Art Basel and the White Party Festival.
Miami Beach’s plan specifically discriminated against blacks based solely on their race.
When we examine the four elements of the city’s plan, we find random checkpoints, roadblocks, surveillance and seizures.
• Random checkpoints are defined as a police tactic involving the setup of roadblocks for police units in order to disrupt unauthorized or unwanted movement. It’s the black tourists who are unwanted.
• A roadblock, by definition, is an obstruction placed across a road for halting or hindering traffic, such as by the police, to facilitate a search or capture or to delay the enemy: black visitors.
• The surveillance is any obstruction to progress, to halt or obstruct with a roadblock to closely observe a person or group, especially one under suspicion: again, black visitors.
• The seizure is the act or instance of seizing or the state of being seized and taking possession of an item, property, or person legally or by force.
All of these things violate the state’s civil rights act, which prohibits, in Section 760.51, the interference “by threats, intimidation or coercion” of any person’s rights under the state constitution or Florida laws.
The statute empowers the Florida attorney general to bring a civil or administrative action for damages and for injunctive or other appropriate relief for violations of the rights secured.
Section 760.08 prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation: “All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this chapter, without discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, or religion.”
The U.S. Constitution guarantees these rights as well, clearly defined in the First Amendment as the right of the people to peaceably assemble and the Fourth Amendment as the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Nevertheless, none of these rights were respected.
Perhaps Miami Beach would like to choose which race of people can visit.
In any event, the civil and human rights of African Americans must be valued and guaranteed. Let the heavy hand of the U.S. Justice Department correct these egregious acts.
Pictured above us John Dudley, a writer living in Miami Beach. He may be reached at Mrinvestor2u2002@yahoo.com