Miami Beach Police Chief Talks About Violence In His City, Including Attack On CBS4 News Crew

The Chief of Police in Miami Beach talks to CBS4 News about the violence in his city, the attack on a CBS4 News crew and the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Video Transcript

RICHARD CLEMENTS: Not going to turn and walk away from the people that really, for the most part, what you encountered the other night, people who are here to be confrontational or aggressive or break the law.

ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: Now at 7:00, the Miami Beach police chief is talking to "CBS 4 News" about the violence in his city that includes the attack our own news crew endured this week while reporting in South Beach. Ironically, our news crew was reporting on the city's efforts to decrease that sort of violence by moving last call for alcohol up to 2:00 AM.

LAUREN PASTRANA: Today we've learned not only does the chief support the new last call, he's also telling us about his plans for this year's Memorial Day weekend. CBS 4's Bobeth Yates is standing by in Miami Beach now with more. Bobeth?

BOBETH YATES: Well, Eliott and Lauren, all week, we've just seen a few people on the beach. And today, we've just seen a lot more people just coming in. And as the sun goes down, there's more and more people are beginning to arrive. But as you mentioned, we spoke to the chief today, and he says his focus remains safety and security for everyone out here. And they're looking ahead to Memorial Day weekend.

RICHARD CLEMENTS: What we have seen since we've opened back up with people that do come here from other parts of the country is there seems to be more aggression or more of a confrontational attitude.

BOBETH YATES: Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements says it's not just on the beach, but all across the country. Police departments have been dealing with people who are much more angry. And Wednesday, me and my photographer Ebenezer Mends got a firsthand experience of that aggression.

- [INAUDIBLE] [BLEEP]. You a snitch! Hey, [BLEEP] out my face.

- Come on, come on, come on, come on.

RICHARD CLEMENTS: It's bad enough that they're-- they do it to us when we're just there and we're trying to do our best to keep things safe and deal with the behavior issues. But when they start turning it towards obviously people like yourself or our hotel leaders or our, you know, restaurant industry, or for that matter, even our residents, it's even more alarming.

BOBETH YATES: And with Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, Clements says they're not just preparing for people who are more pent-up from the pandemic, but for larger than normal crowds.

RICHARD CLEMENTS: All of our officers will be working 24 hours a day and, again, for the entire duration of the weekend. We'll have enhanced staffing on Thursday and Monday to go along with that. And the focus on that's really going to be number one-- making sure that everybody's safe.

BOBETH YATES: That plan includes partnering with other law enforcement agencies to increase police presence. But that's just the beginning.

ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: We will have units that are monitoring not only the causeways, but the 5th Street corridor. We'll have units on Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue as well. They'll be looking at strict traffic enforcement. We've also set up green zones in and around the neighborhoods for the residential areas.

BOBETH YATES: Now, we also spoke to the chief about the new 2:00 AM last call for alcohol time, and he tells us why he thinks this will work. That coming up at 11:00. I'll have more details on that. Live in Fort-- live in Miami Beach, Bobeth Yates, "CBS 4 News."