Miami was a city with a split personality Saturday as black residents mourned a second death linked to this week's racial unrest and visiting football fans flocked to lavish Super Bowl celebrations.
One day before the National Football League championship game, police remained on alert for further disturbances after violence rocked the city's poorest black neighborhoods.The latest source of anguish for Miami's black community was the death of black activist Nick Ferguson, a 66-year-old asthmatic who apparently inhaled fatal amounts of smoke and tear gas while trying to stop youths from looting and burning stores Tuesday night.
Ferguson was found in his apartment on Friday, and the medical examiner's office ruled he died of a clogged bronchial tube. It was the second fatality to result from three nights of unrest in the city's Liberty City and Overtown sections.
A world away, at luxurious beachfront hotels and posh restaurants, Super Bowl revelers celebrated the coming game.
With up to 100,000 out-of-town football fans and 2,300 reporters in town for the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers, city officials were doing their best to put the week's troubles behind them.
"What a beautiful night for Miami. We're all a little tired from this week," Mayor Xavier Suarez told a cheering crowd jammed into the city's Bayfront Park Friday night for a display of fireworks, salsa music and dancing.
The disturbances ruined plans to clean up the city's "Miami Vice" image during Super Bowl Week, but city officials hoped to salvage something from their effort.
Police said they did not expect another round of racial violence like the one earlier this week when crowds of angry blacks clashed with police, looted dozens of stores and burned 13 businesses.
But police were not letting down their guard. About 200 weary officers continued patrolling black neighborhoods and some roadblocks remained in place.
Police were beginning to saturate the area around Joe Robbie Stadium in preparation for Sunday's game.
The beefed-up security was inspired in part by the Rev. Al Sharp-ton, the controversial New York black activist who has threatened to lead rallies to draw attention away from the Super Bowl and focus it on the city's racial problems.
Miami's wave of racial unrest was touched off Monday by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black motorcyclist, Clement Lloyd, 23, by a white policeman. Lloyd's passenger, Allen Blanchard, 24, was killed when the motorcycle crashed after the shooting.