Authorities in Miami Beach arrested a protester who they said violated the city’s emergency order when she sat on an empty beach with a sign that read, “We are free,” reports said.
Kimberly Falkenstine, 33, was taking part in a lockdown protest along with her husband at Lummus Park, in Miami Beach. WSVN reported that at one point, she broke away from the group to sit on the closed beach to make a statement.
Video of the encounter with police was posted online that showed officers taking Falkenstine into custody. Local 10 reported that police gave her several warnings but she responded that the “beach was for the public and it was her right to be there.”
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The beaches in the county have been closed since March due to the coronavirus and the threat of overcrowding. The Miami Herald reported that Dan Gelber, Miami Beach’s mayor, said he intends on keeping the beaches closed until early June.
“It makes no sense to gamble that we’ll be fine,” Gelber said. “This isn’t the time to hope you’re lucky.”
Similar protests have been emerging across the U.S. Many Americans say the weeks of lockdown have not been worth the pain and there’s no discernable evidence that they were effective in reducing transmission rates.
The U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday that 2.9 million Americans applied for unemployment this past week, bringing the total to 36.5 million since the start of the pandemic.
The Herald reported that when Falkenstine was handcuffed, police said she “dropped her dead weight and [refused] to move” so police were forced to carry her to the patrol car. She was taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in West Miami-Dade and held on a $2,500 bond. She reportedly faces charges that include resisting an officer without violence and trespassing.
Authorities said police allowed the protest despite social distancing orders after they agreed to certain conditions.
The paper reported that other protesters at the park held other signs that read “all jobs are essential” and “freedom over fear.” Reports said Falkenstine was the only arrest stemming from the protest.