Miami Beach prosecutors have dropped charges against a tourist who was pepper-sprayed and arrested by police under a controversial new city rule meant to help with crowd control. On July 25, police arrested Maple, a 27-year-old New York native who was in town for the popular Rolling Loud music festival, as she recorded a traffic stop. The new ordinance makes it illegal to approach an officer with the “intent to impede, provoke or harass,” and in an arrest report, Maple had been accused of refusing to comply with an officer’s instructions by ignoring a “physical barrier” he’d created with his bike. However, footage of the incident showed Maple calmly taking a video of the incident when he pepper-sprayed her and hit her with his bike.
The Miami Beach City Commission established the ordinance to protect officers from unruly crowds, but many worry that this provides leeway for them to stop lawful recordings and exercise unnecessary force. Thirteen people were arrested under the new law in July, all of whom were Black. According to NBC Miami, five officers were arrested last month after aggressively arresting two men. In light of the new allegations, Miami Beach Police Department has suspended the ordinance.