The mayor of North Miami Beach has called for the city manager to step down days after a longtime resident was removed from a commission meeting.
Speaking with reporters at a news conference held Thursday, North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony F. DeFillipo did not mince words.
“One of our longtime residents, Mubarak Kazan, had his civil rights violated by our city manager, Arthur Sorey III,” he said.
Kazan expressed his outrage about what happened in and outside City Hall on Tuesday.
Cellphone video captured Kazan standing outside of the building.
“This is Mubarak Kazan. He is being kicked out,” said a man in the video. “Police are being used to protect politicians.”
Kazan’s digital recorder was temporarily confiscated after he left it recording by a speaker. He said he left it there while he went to use the restroom.
The cellphone video outside City Hall captured North Miami Police officers as they stood between Kazan and the doors to the auditorium.
Kazan said he has recorded city commission meetings for years.
“It was like a normal thing for me to be doing over the decades,” he said.
DeFillipo said the way Kazan was treated was unacceptable. He also called out Sorey for orchestrating the incident.
“What happened on Tuesday night is unjust, unconstitutional, not right and will not be permitted,” said the mayor.
When asked whether he is asking Sorey to step down amid claims of corruption, DeFillipo replied, “Loud and clear.”
Speaking with 7News over the phone on Wednesday, Sorey said Kazan’s recorder had raised suspicions.
The city manager later issued a statement that reads in part, “After concluding it was a recording device, it was immediately returned to Mr. Kazan, and I publicly invited him back into the meeting.”
In this statement, Sorey added that people should speak up when we see unattended devices or bags.”
But at Thursday’s news conference, DeFillipo said Sorey mishandled the situation.
“This should not occur and should have never occurred,” he said as he put his hand on Kazan’s shoulder.
The mayor also said Sorey should step down for what he called wild spending and for chauffeur services for at least one commissioner.
When he spoke briefly with 7News on Wednesday, Sorey declined an offer for a phone interview and said he was out of the country.
Thursday night, 7News was able to reach Sorey. When asked to comment about DeFilippo calling for him to resign, Sorey replied, “No, sir.”
He declined to comment further.
DeFillipo said it’s up to him and the city commissioners to determine Sorey’s fate.