MIAMI - The fallout from the Elian Gonzalez raid sank the city government deeper into chaos Friday, with the police chief resigning a day after the mayor fired the city manager.
In stepping down, Police Chief William O'Brien lashed out at Mayor Joe Carollo - who had criticized O'Brien for failing to notify him about the raid.
''I refuse to be the lightning rod of divisiveness in this community,'' O'Brien said. ''I refuse to be the chief of police in a city that has someone as divisive and destructive as Joe Carollo as mayor.''
O'Brien had an hour's advance notice of Saturday's 5:15 a.m. raid at the home of Elian's Miami relatives. He has said he didn't want to tip off the mayor, who unlike O'Brien is Cuban-American and had openly sided with the relatives.
O'Brien's emotional resignation came less than 18 hours after Carollo fired the city manager, Donald Warshaw, during a heated hearing at which dozens of residents said police abused them while they protested Saturday's pre-dawn raid.
O'Brien and Warshaw said their pending departures would not affect the city's ability to ensure that a massive Elian protest on Saturday would be safe and orderly. But the departure of the city's two top professional managers leaves Miami once again in political turmoil.
''We're in very sad and trying times in the city of Miami,'' said city commissioner Johnny Winton.
Carollo wanted Warshaw to fire the police chief, because in Miami, only the city manager can fire department heads. When he refused, Carollo fired Warshaw, but the mayor maintains his decision had nothing to do with the raid. He claimed Warshaw had been turning other officials against him.
When O'Brien announced his resignation at the Miami Police Department, scores of officers cheered and applauded. Some cried.
''They wanted to know again who gave the order and who was responsible, I want to say again, I gave the order and I am the one who is responsible,'' said O'Brien, a 25-year Miami police veteran and Vietnam-era fighter pilot.
James Goldman, the Immigration and Naturalization Service agent who led Saturday's raid, called O'Brien a ''hero of this mission.''
''He did what we asked him to do - to maintain operational security, not to reveal the nature of the search warrant,'' he said.
O'Brien, 56, said he will remain on the job until another chief is named by Warshaw, which could happen as early as next week.
Carollo said O'Brien's resignation was orchestrated by Warshaw in order to save his city manager's job.
''He was made into the sacrificial lamb to resign,'' Carollo said. ''He was sacrificed by Mr. Warshaw so that by doing this, Mr. Warshaw is saving himself.''
Warshaw said he wouldn't lobby to regain his job. ''There are no deals being made,'' he said.
The city commission has voted to create a committee to investigate police involvement in the seizure of Elian and any police brutality that occurred during the protests. More than 300 people were arrested and tear gas was used to disperse crowds after the boy was seized.
Elian, found adrift on an inner tube Thanksgiving Day after his mother and 10 other Cubans drowned, was reunited with his father after the raid.
The 6-year-old boy must remain in the United States until a federal appeals court rules on the Miami relatives' bid for him to have an asylum hearing. For now Elian is living at the rural Wye River retreat in Maryland with his father, stepmother and half brother.
They were joined Thursday by four of Elian's schoolmates from his hometown of Cardenas, four of their parents and Elian's doctor.
That same day, the appeals court rejected the Miami relatives' request to visit the boy and also ruled that Elian's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, may intervene in the appeal. Such a move would allow the father to drop the case. Arguments in the case are scheduled for May 11.
Also Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a hearing scheduled for Wednesday to examine the legal implications of the raid. The Justice Department said it needed more time to supply documents. Critics have called such a hearing a political attack on the Justice Department.
The political infighting in Miami comes after several other civic controversies.
Carollo became mayor after a fraud-ridden 1997 election that resulted in the apparent victor, Xavier Suarez, being forced from office.
Carollo appointed Warshaw as city manager in 1998, after firing Jose Garcia-Pedrosa three times. Garcia-Pedrosa, now one of the lawyers representing Elian's Miami relatives, was reinstated all three times by the commission, but chose to step down.
Jim Corey, a political science professor at the University of Miami, said the latest squabble ''makes Miami the laughingstock of the United States. It confirms the image of a banana republic.''