MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — For nearly two decades a Hanukkah parade through the busy streets of Miami Beach has been a popular annual tradition. But during this year’s event on Monday, Police Chief Dan Oates said the caravan of cars started at 5:30 p.m. as usual, instead of the city’s newly-changed 7 p.m. permit.
“There’s reason for that. The City’s taken a position that we can’t have parades and motorcades and those types of things during rush hour.”
“It’s a shame. It’s not the kind of relationship we wanna have,” Chief Oates told Reporter Donna Rapado about the years-long relationship the city had with The Friends of Lubavitch, which coordinated the Hanukkah parade.
Chief Oates said a rabbi ignored warnings from police not to start before the permitted time. He said the rabbi lead the parade without police escort. The motorcade held up traffic and drove through red lights.
Officers gave a total 30 tickets, the first one going to the elderly rabbi, who did not want to comment for this report. Among the tickets were a couple driving too slow, four failing to yield to pedestrians and 13 tickets running red lights.
“The law is the law on Miami Beach,” said Mayor Phillip Levine. “And unfortunately, I’m just very disappointed that the rabbi decided to have this parade early and endanger our officers, endanger his own congregation. I’m sorry that it happened.”
The police chief and city commissioners met with the Lubavitch rabbis and their attorneys Wednesday. Attorney Lonnie Richardson told Rapado things aren’t exactly as the city is portraying.
Richardson was guarded with how much he revealed but he said police were unnecessarily heavy-handed and he planned to get to the bottom of it.
“A lot of wrongs have been committed toward the (Jewish) community. There’s a lot more to it, and at this moment in the abundance of caution it’s better to wait and then vet these things out.”