MIAMI BEACH – The organizer of a Hanukkah parade that turned into a police incident is speaking out for the first time about it.
The Friends of Lubavitch parade happens every year on Miami Beach but the December parade was different this year. The celebration of lights ended with 30 people being cited for traffic violations.
“I plan to sue the city,” said Rabbi Abraham Korf with Friends of Lubavitch.
He’s furious that police handed out tickets. The group is accused of not following the permit by starting the parade before 7 p.m. during rush hour.
“This parade, we have for 19 years, every year with a permit. Always 5:30 in the afternoon,” said Korf.
City officials said several months ago, the policy changed. It does not allow events like this during peak traffic hours, as the police chief explained last month.
“They were warned that you can’t violate the permit. The permit actually says you can’t leave until 7 p.m.,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates.
Rabbi Korf said he didn’t get a copy of the permit until 3 days before the parade. The city says it’s because he didn’t complete all the paperwork.
Either way, the Rabbi said he did get emails the Friday before and the day of the parade reminding them, they can’t start until 7 p.m.
CBS4’s Ted Scouten said, “but you knew in advance it was 7 o’clock, not 5:30.”
“Yeah. What you call, Mister? Called me that the decision was that it was 7 o’clock, not 5:30,” responded Rabbi Korf.
“And that was 3 days prior, 3 days before,” asked Scouten.
“Right,” responded the rabbi.
Despite that, the rabbi handed out instructions to the people in the parade, saying in part, “Rabbi Korf decided that the parade is to go ahead anyway, in the proud and correct way that the Rebbe wants it.”
Chief Oates said the tickets are going to stick. They have to be paid or fought.
“We are fighting it,” said the rabbi.
Rabbi Korf said he’s working with his attorneys to hammer out the specifics of the lawsuit.
CBS4 reached out to police and city officials. They did provide us with information, but no one was available to be interviewed at last check.