Miami Beach officer fires pepper balls to break up fight in video posted to social media

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Videos showing fights and other altercations in Miami Beach during spring break continue to circulate on social media, including one where a police officer fired pepper balls to break up a fight, according to police.

The projectiles caused the crowd to run away at around 11:45 p.m., Monday. The video was posted to Only In Dade’s social media page.

Miami Beach Police said the pepper balls were fired to break up a fight that began moments earlier. The incident happened on the same night a man was shot dead six blocks away.

Richard Clements, the city’s police chief, announced he would bring in extra officers on Tuesday, much earlier than expected. He said officers from other departments will join forces with the city’s officers.

“Our approach is about presence,” Clements said. “What we’re dealing with now is behavior and making sure the behavior stays within reason. We’re feeling the need to increase that presence in order to be able to deal with the challenges associated with dealing with large crowds.”

On Thursday, officers pulled over a car that had peeled out from a busy intersection seconds prior, and the stepped-up presence has not gone unnoticed.

“Kind of a little bit much because the lights and stuff at night freak me out, but other than that, I’m sure they’re here to keep everybody safe,” Marhanda Simmons, who is visiting from Pennsylvania, said.

“I did see a lot of cops, but they haven’t been droning on us or anything like that,” Tahiyya Hilton, who is also visiting from Pennsylvania, said. “I think they’re protecting us. Yeah, I do.”

Spring break in Miami usually runs from the end of February through April, and locals and tourists alike can expect to see the increased police presence until then.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.