MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida continues to call for change in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police in Minneapolis.
On Sunday, protesters marched through the streets of Wynwood before they jumped a fence brought their rally to the northbound lanes of I-95, temporarily halting traffic.
People held signs and chanted “Whose streets? Our streets.”
“It’s never a good idea to jump on an expressway, to protest on an expressway. You run the risk of hurting yourself, a motorist, some kind of incident that can occur. So, it’s really never a good idea,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez before the protest.
The police allowed them to go for several yards before telling them to leave. Protesters then cheered as they left the highway.
“If we can make it safe, it’s better to let them on, the protestors on, and then deescalate the situation because the last thing we want to do is escalate the situation,” said Gimenez.
Gimenez moved a nightly curfew to 9 p.m. after protesters got onto I-95 Friday after the main march was already over.
The mayor said even though officers will respect the protesters, there’s a line they can’t cross.
“We do have a line. The line is we are not going to allow the destruction of property. We are not going to put anybody’s life in danger. But you can stay inside those lines and protest and express your opinion. This is America,” he said.
“We’ve become a national model, frankly, in terms of the way that we protest and also the way that our police officers have acted,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
The protesters are demanding that more has to be done to combat police brutality and racial injustice.
Suarez said he’s listening to their concerns.
“We are going to be doing everything we can to reform our department and continue to make changes. It’s all about improvement,” he said.
Gimenez said the county fought for and was able to get an outside agency to investigate police-involved shootings. He also fought to get body cams before most other police departments in the county did so.
He said he too is listening to the concerns but that protesters and businesses must honor the curfew.
“The protests need to end at a certain time. We do it countywide because if you don’t, then they’ll say we will just move it over here,” said Gimenez.
Gimenez said any non-essential business that stays open runs the risk of fines and violations.
Suarez doesn’t believe a curfew is needed, saying it hurts businesses.