Ultra Music Festival attendee punches firefighter, massive party goes on

As electronic dance music fans worldwide continued to descend on Miami for the three-day Ultra Music Festival, one attendee punched a City of Miami Department of Fire-Rescue firefighter. 

The Friday night injury did not require hospitalization and the firefighter continued working at the festival. The glow of complex LED lighting systems and loud beats continued with some 165,000 on Saturday. 

A spider-shaped stage designed to suspend the DJ booth up in the air was one of eight elaborate stage designs spread out the 32-acre area of Bayfront Park. 

With tickets ranging anywhere between $300 to $1,250, this year organizers took Ultra VIP to another level with their Social Floating Platform on Biscayne Bay. It features lounging areas and goodies from chefs and mixologists.

The festival’s range is unlike no other in South Florida. Indie electronica has a presence with Bag Raiders. Techno has ANNA. Trance has Purple Haze. Death metal has Slipknot’s Sid Wilson. Hip-hop has A$AP Ferg, Cypress Hill and Ice Cube.

Law enforcement expected recreational drug use within the fenced 32-acre Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. Paramedics were ready to respond to health risks. Last year, 21-year-old Adam Levine, a University of Miami student from Virginia, was rushed from the park to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he died.

Although water taxis and Uber were encouraged, there were traffic jams in downtown, Wynwood and South Beach. As part of the simultaneous Miami Music Week events, there will be popular parties at The Raleigh, The Delano, The RC Cola Plant and SOHO Studios.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Police officers will begin to reroute traffic at 9 p.m. on Thursday until 12 p.m. on Monday. Biscayne Boulevard’s northbound lanes will be closed from Southeast First Street to Northeast Fourth Street. The northbound traffic will flow on the southbound lanes of Biscayne Boulevard.

WATCH THE ULTRA LIVE STREAM: 3 to 11 p.m. 

 

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Woman of ‘cop gets pulled over for speeding’ video gets restraining order against union president

With some 1.28 million views, Claudia Castillo’s YouTube video embarrassed a Miami-Dade police officer. When she asked him to stop, the polite police officer said he thought she needed help. But instead, she told him she was stopping him for speeding.

In the January 2016 video, Castillo said she followed him from Kendall to downtown Miami on the Palmetto Expressway. She accused him of pushing 90 miles per hour and said it was important that police officers “lead by example.”

In response to her daring request, Miami Police Department Lt. Javier “Javi” Ortiz used social media to target her as a “wanna be cop” and “cop hater.” The police union president said it was to show his support for MDPD.

The doxxing incident was about a year ago. The department relieved him of duty with pay on Friday. 

Castillo claims that when Ortiz started to face consequences over the social media attacks, she was afraid and filed a request for a restraining order on Wednesday. After Ortiz got served with the restraining order, the department reassigned Ortiz with pay pending an April 5 hearing.

Castillo first filed a complaint  against Ortiz on Feb. 3, 2016. The official investigation revealed that after her video went viral officers from both MPD and MDPD requested her record from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle. Ortiz shared it on social media.

Ortiz also posted a picture of her business card on his Facebook account asking his friends to “feel free” to contact her.  He also posted a picture of her at the helm of a boat with an unknown drink can in her hand and wrote “let her know drinking and driving on a boat isn’t safe.”

An internal affairs investigation first accused Ortiz of “discourtesy and improper procedure” and submitted their report to the city’s Civilian Investigative Panel Dec. 16. The panel recommended on Tuesday that “harassment” be added to the official list of violations.

Ortiz who was hired on March 22, 2004 has 29 citizen complaints, one driving complaint and 17 use of force incidents, according to the CIP record. Ortiz was involved in the 2011 beating of Jesse Campodonico at the Ultra Music Festival. He was cleared of wrong doing. But he was reassigned just in time to avoid another encounter at Ultra this year. 

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Miami jewelry store sold counterfeit items, police say

The owners of a Miami jewelry store were arrested for selling counterfeit luxury items, police said.

Jimmy Hernandez, 40, and his mother, Tania Verona, 57, the co-owners of Lord of the Rings Jewelry at 6230 SW Eighth St., were each booked on charges of selling counterfeit items more than $20,000.

Detectives were tipped off to the counterfeit items and found them displayed inside the store. According to the police report, the counterfeit jewelry was being sold for one-tenth of the normal retail value.

The normal retail value of the jewelry exceeds $31 million. Police said the items appeared to be identical to the authentic products to the ordinary person.

“You’re taking away from the owners of these companies who have taken the time to trademark these properties,” Detective Michael Hufnagel Jr. said. 

Inside the store, detectives found counterfeit items of the following brands:

  • Louis Vuitton
  • Bulgari
  • Chanel
  • Tous
  • Van Cleef & Arpels
  • Rolex
  • Gucci
  • Cartier
  • Michael Kors
  • Hermes
  • Tiffany
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Christian Dior
  • Ray Ban

“They were trying to give a defense of it’s an inspired property,” Hufnagel said. “It’s not inspired if it’s word-marked.” 

Detectives said consumers should be vigilant when purchasing designer items from third-party vendors, and said that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

“Be cognizant of your value,” Hufnagel said. “If you are looking for a $5,000 Chanel bracelet and they are selling it for $25 dollars, it very overwhelming should be known that it’s not real.”

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Man found dead outside synagogue in Miami, police say

A man was found dead by a passerby Friday morning in front of synagogue in Miami, authorities said.

Miami police said officers and Miami Fire Rescue responded to Beth David Congregation at 2625 SW Third Ave. and found a man on the sidewalk with a possible gunshot wound.

Police said it’s unclear whether the incident was a suicide or homicide.

The man’s identity has not been released.

Watch Local 10 News or refresh this page for updates.

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Alberto Carvalho reacts to shooting of student by taking to Twitter

When news broke that a Miami-Dade County student was shot in the back Thursday night, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho took to Twitter. 

“Cowardly gun violence injures one more teenager in the streets of Miami,” he wrote in part. 

The student, an unidentified 18-year-old man, was shot near Northwest 53th Street and Northwest Seventh Avenue, Miami-Dade County police said. 

Another man, 19, was grazed in the head and wrist. 

In another tweet Carvalho called for the community to speak out against gun violence. 

“Community violence will prevail to the extent the cowardly code of silence overpowers the courage to speak up about what is seen and known,” he wrote. 

The cause of the shooting is under investigation. 

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. 

Cowardly gun violence injures one more teenager in the streets of Miami. Unacceptably, 18-year old high school student is shot in the arm.

— Alberto M. Carvalho (@MiamiSup) March 23, 2017

Community violence will prevail to the extent the cowardly code of silence overpowers the courage to speak up about what is seen and known.

— Alberto M. Carvalho (@MiamiSup) March 24, 2017

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Ode to LGBT rights advocate makes it to Ziff Ballet Opera House

When Fidel Castro took power, Reinaldo Arenas was an 18-year-old dreamer who naively believed in the leftist’s promise of social justice. He would have never anticipated the Castro regime would later brand him a “social misfit” and sentence him to a labor camp for being gay. 

Arenas enjoyed fame after he published his award-winning novel “Singing From the Well” while he was working at the Jose Marti National Library. His nightmare began in 1970 when he was sentenced to a labor camp for being openly gay.

When the regime learned his writing had been smuggled out of Cuba, he was trapped at El Morro prison. He escaped the island during the Mariel exodus, and about a decade later, he committed suicide while living with AIDS in Manhattan. He was 47. His last letter asked the Cuban people to continue fighting for freedom. 

“I have always considered it despicable to grovel for your life as if life were a favor,” Arenas wrote in “Before Night Falls,”  his explosive memoir. “If you cannot live the way you want, there is no point in living.” 

On Tuesday, Elliot Madore and other members of The Florida Grand Opera cast made sure that Arenas’ ideas echoed freely, while on stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts’ Ziff Ballet Opera House in downtown Miami.  

While Madore, 29, sang in both English and Spanish, there were projected titles in both languages. Composer Jorge Martin, who emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in 1964, got the rights to set it to music about five years before the film, starring Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp, was seen in theaters. 

To expect the sexuality of Arena’s memoir would be unrealistic. The contemporary production was a risk for The Florida Grand Opera. Among their preliminary events was a partnership with the Florida International University’s Cuban Research Institute for a conversation at the Coral Gables Congregational Church. 

Miami hasn’t always welcomed Martin. After he completed the libretto and music for the opera, The Fort Worth Opera — and not the Florida Grand Opera — premiered it in 2010. The Miami Herald’s critic described the opera as “mostly melodic speech,” and The South Florida Classical Review critic wrote it was “slow, unfocused and full of unnecessary scenes.”

Martin’s commitment to accuracy and the timing of the ode to an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and freedom of expression on the Communist island is worthy of an adventure for those who care about the issues, but haven’t been to the opera. 

There will be two more performances at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets range from $23 to $229. For more information and for tickets, visit ArshtCenter.org or FGO.org, or call 1-800-741-1010.

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