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Hip-hop icon 'Uncle Luke' doubles down on criticism of City of Miami Beach leadership
By CBS Miami Team,
MIAMI - Hip-Hop icon Luther Campbell doubled down on criticism of the City of Miami Beach leadership.
He posted a video accusing the mayor and others of using black people gathering on Ocean Drive for Spring Break in South Beach as pawns for political gain.
Campbell vented in a video viewed by thousands on his Instagram page.
"We are going to create a chaotic situation and that's all on the mayor," Campbell said.
Separate weekend shootings killed two people.
Temporary curfew and emergency orders followed for a third straight year.
Now, a surge of police, evening road closures, and parking bans for the next few days.
Campbell thinks it is too little, too late.
He also claims the race of many in Ocean Drive crowds on Spring Break is a factor.
"They're using African-American kids as pawns in the game," he said.
"City leaders have an agenda and they're trying to shut down Ocean Drive, make it a six o'clock town for their businesses. You're telling me we don't know how to conduct ourselves on Miami Beach? Really? We've always went to city leaders with solutions. It went in one ear, out the other. We need undercover police officers. We need the presence. We need to be able to have these kids where they can log on if there's an incident or there's any information they need to get through their cell phones."
He said Miami Beach crowd control plans annually appear less thorough than those used for New Orleans' Mardi Gras or New Year's Eve in Time Square in New York City.
Campbell and others said plenty tried to offer the city guidance.
"The violence is predictable," Melba Pearson, Miami Beach Black Affairs Advisory Committee member said.
"It's fixable but sadly those who are tasked with that responsibility have fallen down on the job repeatedly."
Pearson said the city commission rejects party planners and promoter ideas. David Wallack, owner of Mango's Tropical Café, said he tried to organize a larger international concert without success.
"Every major event either the city did not approve, schedule, or canceled prior to last weekend's shootings," Wallack said.
Like Campbell, they think a few well-planned shows and law enforcement tweaks will end trouble.
Through a spokesperson, Mayor Dan Gelber told declined to be interviewed Thursday.
However, he told CBS News Miami one day earlier that city leaders are doing their best to keep streets safe.
"We are doing everything we can to limit the intrusion of all these spring breakers," Mayor Gelber said.
Former Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine, whose regime was also criticized by Campbell, took it in stride.
"Luke is my friend and somebody I truly respect," Levine said in a text message statement. "His viewpoints and opinions should always be considered by the Miami Beach government as he loves Miami and has our community's best interest at heart."
Without a significant change in the city's strategy for future Spring Break weekends, Campbell plans to apply more public pressure.
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