Despite repeated calls for a boycott after her edgy Super Bowl performance ticked off more than a few cops, Little Havana’s Marlins Park will be protected Wednesday when musical superstar Beyoncé kicks off a worldwide tour.
In February, Miami Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz announced his union had voted to boycott the April 27 show and wrote letters asking for similar votes from police unions across the country.
The reasoning: Ortiz and others viewed Beyoncé’s Formation video and Super Bowl performance as an anti-police message and felt it paid homage to the Black Panther counter-culture movement of the 1960s.
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The boycott call fell in line with other pointed memes and racially charged Facebook postings by Ortiz in past years. He has defended officers under fire for killing unarmed black men from Ferguson, Missouri, to Staten Island, New York. He called Tamir Rice — the 11-year-old BB gun-toting child killed by a Cleveland police officer — a “thug.”
But unlike other social media rants by the union president, the February one on Beyoncé drew the ire of city leaders. The mayor was worried the city’s image would be stained. The city manager explored legal paths to curb Ortiz’s social media barking. The leader of the city’s largest black police organization said the union president was acting “like a 7-year-old who has a temper tantrum.”
Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss said normal shifts will patrol the streets around the stadium and more than the dozens of cops needed for work outside of Marlins Park signed up for the off-duty patrols at the show.
“The concert will be patrolled as usual,” Moss said.
Miami wouldn’t say exactly how many police officers work events at the ballpark. Ortiz said only about 30 officers signed up and that most of them signed up prior to the announced boycott. He also said Miami planned to bolster police service with special events staff if enough officers don’t show.
“My phone was ringing off the hook from members that wanted to call out sick,” Ortiz said. “We still have a duty to provide exemplary police service. If they signed up, even if it was a mistake, they must work.”
That explanation drew a snicker from Moss, who said the city only has three special-event staff members.
“More people signed up than were needed,” he said.