DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry spoke out on Monday about Saturday’s massive crowds that tied up traffic along State Road A1A after receiving some complaints from residents.
“We have two different lenses. The police have a lens and then the residents have a lens, and we have to respect both lens,” Mayor Henry said.
Daytona Beach police not only dealt with the crowds over Memorial Day weekend but also responded to a shooting. Officers said two people were shot and four others were injured. Investigators said they’re still working to identify the gunman.
“I think we responded very well and we did everything to keep order,” said Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri.
Capri said law enforcement officers came prepared and had a plan in place to control the visitors who were in town for a canceled event called “Orlando Invades Daytona.”
“Ninety percent of the crowd was compliant. We had to flush the beachside. We moved them and everything worked out pretty good,” Capri said.
But some residents complained to city leaders about their safety, especially during a pandemic when social distancing is considered crucial. One resident even launched a petition to hold the event promoters accountable, but Henry said that’s impossible to do.
“There were no promoters essentially that we can track down. And those that we knew of, as I said before, they canceled the event,” he said.
There’s also growing concerns about another beach party that’s being advertised for June 6. Henry said he, along with law enforcement officials, are aware of the event and will be prepared to handle it as well.
“I will do my very best to reach out to the promoter and others to make sure that they realize that this is not the time or space for these such events. It is a decision of public safety and public health and that is where we stand. We’re always going to stand on the side of keeping our residents and our community safe,” Henry said.