City of Biloxi’s plan for Black Spring Break
In the aftermath of Black Spring Break and the shootings over the weekend, many residents asked, both on social media and at Tuesday’s city council meeting, why the event can’t just be canceled.
This year’s spring break festivities left residents and city officials frustrated after gunfire rang out Sunday, injuring five people including a police officer. Mayor FoFo Gilich has made his intentions clear. “Let me assure everyone that the city will do everything in its power to prevent the problems that we just experienced from reoccurring. This won’t happen again.”
But ditching the event isn’t as easy as it seems. Black Spring Break is a private event promoted through social media where promoters reach out to private property owners to host events. However, city permits are still needed. One promoter from the Coast did this, but he isn’t sure about the others. Black Spring Break Promoter Maurice Bryant said, “I can’t really speak for their events because I’m not really involved with them. You know, but I think there should be something done to vet promoters that’s doing these events.”
This year, the spring break festivities did not stay within city ordinances. Many people did not have permits, were in residential neighborhoods, and sometimes, even in the streets.
Biloxi Police Chief John Miller says the city simply does not have the resources for the event which drew over 30,000 people this year. “First responders who usually run into burning buildings and gunfire, you know, they don’t run from it, they run to it. They were concerned. To the point where next year, I’m not sure I’m going to have policemen that are going to step forward and do this.”
Despite the lack of manpower, the City of Biloxi doesn’t have much of a choice when it comes to being involved. City of Biloxi Public Affairs Manager Cecilia Dobbs said, “With this happening in the city of Biloxi, the city of Biloxi has to be involved in providing safety and enforcing the rules that are in place.”
The city can’t put an end to an event that they don’t have power over, but they plan to make the rules for all events much stricter. “This event, and the instances that happened over the weekend, has made the city decide to gather more information, to look at the city ordinances and the permitting that is in place to see what needs to be changed for not only this event but for any event that’s held in the City of Biloxi.”
City officials are still discussing what measures to take. We will continue to provide coverage as this situation evolves.