In 2009, California artist Scott Gairdner made the “Sex Offender Shuffle,” a viral video parodying Miami-Dade’s treatment of sex offenders. With a catchy beat and ’80s-style cinematography, the four-minute spoof of the 1985 Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” mocked the way sex offenders are shuffled from one location to another under the guise of public safety.
Nine years later, the sex offender shuffle is playing out in real life in Miami-Dade. After being forced to leave a longtime encampment near Hialeah, a group of homeless sex offenders was kicked out of its new location near the airport over the weekend.
“There’s no solution,” says Frank Diaz, a pastor who ministers to the affected offenders. “They’re just sweeping them from one place to another.”
The evictions date back to March, when the county gave notice to about 100 homeless sex offenders living at an encampment alongside railroad tracks near Hialeah that they had until May 6 to vacate the area. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Legal Services of Greater Miami filed a lawsuit challenging the county’s overnight camping ordinances but lost their first court hearing. The residents of “Tent City” were forced to leave in early May.
After the hearing, the offenders’ lawyer, Jeffrey Hearne, accurately predicted the decision would simply create new encampments of homeless sex offenders.
“They’ll most likely be relocating to another street corner,” Hearne told the Miami Herald .
So in mid-May, a group of former Tent City residents moved to a location off NW 37th Avenue just northeast of Miami International Airport. But last weekend, Diaz says, police stationed themselves in the area and informed the offenders they couldn’t stay there either.