MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A news crew from WFOR-TV in Miami was attacked on South Beach Wednesday night while working on a story about violence there. Fortunately, reporter Bobeth Yates and photojournalist Ebenezer Mends are OK.
“Just really shaken up. Been reporting for a very long time, don’t want to date myself, but about 20 years, and I’ve never been attacked like this on a story,” Yates recalled. “The ironic part was we were actually covering crime on South Beach.”
The two were in South Beach to report on the Miami Beach City Commission passing a resolution to stop alcohol sales past 2 a.m. in the city’s entertainment district as a way to curb unruly behavior. “An entertainment-only district has giving us something we just can’t control,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber at the vote.
Gelber noted that 75% of the crime in the city is “south of Dade Boulevard. And then if you look closer than that, you’ll see the top five locations tend to be literally in the middle of this area from 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th in Collins and Ocean.”
Working on the story for WFOR’s 11 p.m. newscast, Mends noticed a fight near 5 Street and Ocean Drive at around 9 p.m. Mends began recording, which prompted a group to come over and demand not to be filmed. One man placed his hands on Mends’ camera as more people started to show up. Yates intervened once there were about five people surrounding Mends, telling them to back away and that Mends would not stop recording.
Someone then knocked Mends’ camera down, temporarily causing it to black out. Yates dialed police and she followed the people who harassed her and Mends.
Just a short time later, Mends’ camera was struck by two different people before the crowd began to disperse. At some point during the incident, Yates and Mends had what they believe was alcohol thrown at them.
Responding Miami Beach police officers ended up detaining two subjects near 7 Street and Ocean Drive. The subjects are now facing charges for felony criminal mischief and battery.
Yates said police are still looking for the other people involved.