MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There was some transit trouble over the weekend when Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez suspended all county transit services due to protests, some of which became violent, in Downtown Miami.
Bus service, as well as Metrorail and Metromover were shutdown Saturday night and all day Sunday.
Service was restored Monday morning.
Thursday morning, during a virtual press conference with reporters, CBS4’s Jim DeFede asked the Mayor why he decided to shutdown service.
WATCH DeFede Give His Perspective On The Heated Exchange
Here is how the conversation went.
Jim: Good morning, Mr. Mayor, a couple of things to ask about your decision to shut down all of transit over the weekend. I saw your comments before the commission, you said that if there’s civil unrest, you will shut down transit again. You understand, of course, that this puts a tremendous burden and hurt tens of thousands of people who are left stranded. So can you walk me through your thinking and what specific intelligence you had and what recommendations were given to you to shut down the entire county transit system because you were concerned about a few protesters who might take a bus to a protest?
Mayor Gimenez: Is that is that a question or an editorial?
Jim: Yeah, there was question there. I want you to walk me through your thinking on that process.
Mayor Gimenez: My thinking is I’ve been involved in public safety for 40 years Jim, and the safety of this town is always my utmost concern. When I spoke to my police director, I think on Zoom, we talked about public transit. And one of the things he said is that, yes, protesters and not just a few, right, protesters do take advantage of public transit, to then go to other parts of the town and then start spreading trouble there. And so my concern is always public safety, number one, loss of life and that’s number one. And that’s my thought process. Thank you.
Jim: Do protesters also take cars to events?
Mayor Gimenez: They can. Sure.
Then, as Jim was trying to ask about setting up roadblocks instead of shutting down public transportation, the two began speaking simultaneously.
Then the Mayor replied.
Mayor Gimenez: We also shutdown Uber and Lyft too, okay so that’s my thought process.
When Jim tried to ask a follow up question, the Mayor tried to shut him down.
Mayor Gimenez: We are not having a discussion. Okay. I just thought I told you my thought process. You disagree with it.
Jim: Who recommended shutting it down. Did the police director recommend shutting it down?
Police Director Freddy Ramirez, who was also on the Zoom conference call: Yes, I did it. I recommended to shut it down. It was me Jim.
Jim: What other police agencies in the country shut down their entire transit system?
Mayor: Well, I’ll tell you who didn’t and that was the city of New York didn’t shut it down. And you saw what happened. Thank you.