A Hispanic neighborhood ravaged by hundreds of rioters returned nearly to normal Tuesday as residents and city workers cleaned up after the looting and burning sparked by the acquittal of six police officers in the beating death of a Puerto Rican drug dealer.
Mayor Xavier Suarez said the city was taken by surprise by the violence that began about 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Wynwood neighborhood north of downtown.There were no serious injuries in the rioting, which started hours after a federal jury cleared the Miami officers of conspiracy and other charges in the death of Leonardo Mercado.
"I certainly didn't expect kids with hoods (to hide their identity), " Suarez said while surveying the riot scene Tuesday. "I've never seen that before. That's a new technique for me. We just have to keep learning and people have to understand that a court decision cannot lead to extreme violence and a sort of lost of total control as we saw last night."
Police spokesman Bobby Navarro said police following tips were going to homes in the neighborhood to recover stolen property, including computers and other office equipment. However, there were no more police on patrol than usual, he said.
"I would say things are normal - about as normal as you can get after a riot," Navarro said.
Shouts of "We want justice" and "Viva justice!" could be heard from many of the rioters.