Miami police chief fired after 6 months on the job
Miami officials have decided to dismiss the city’s new police chief after his stormy six months in office, after city commissioners criticized him and accused him of interfering with the police department and internal affairs investigations.
MIAMI (Associated Press) – Miami officials have decided to fire the city’s new police chief after his stormy six months in office, after he was criticized by city commissioners who accused him of interfering with the police department and internal affairs investigation.
In a statement Monday, Miami City manager Art Noriega said he has suspended President Art Acevedo with intent to terminate his employment.
“The relationship between the president and the organization has become unsustainable and needs to be resolved quickly,” Noriega said. “President Acevedo is not the right person for this organization.”
Art Acevedo has been recruited by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who earlier this year hailed him as “America’s best president.” He was seen as a progressive law executive who heads the Houston police department, but he also shares his ancestry with hundreds of thousands of Cubans in Miami, as a Havana-born refugee.
Acevedo was sworn in in April and began making waves almost immediately by taking over internal affairs and making important changes to his command staff. He downgraded four majors and fired two high-ranking police officials – a couple – for not being honest about a city-issued SUV crash.
In two tumultuous meetings over the past month, commissioners have attacked Acevedo and his leadership, appointing themselves to a commission of inquiry with subpoena power to examine his appointment.
At one of those meetings, videos were played of Acevedo posing as Elvis Presley dancing “Gilhouse Rock” in the iconic white suit, entering a fundraising dance floor, and slapping a woman’s ass with a piece of paper. At another meeting, City Commissioner Joe Carullo asked to be arrested by him if it was true that the new police chief had evidence that he and other politicians were interfering with an internal affairs investigation.
Manolo Reyes, the Miami city commissioner, told WSVN-TV that “The only thing we’ve asked is for him to be president. Not to be a politician. Not to be a critic of any elected officials, judges, and state attorneys. Just to do his job as president.”
In an eight-page memo that Acevedo sent to the city manager and mayor prior to those meetings, Acevedo stated that Carolo and the other commissioners were interfering with internal affairs investigations, improperly requesting that police resources be deployed against certain institutions “on the basis of nothing more.” from the whims of the commissioners.” He also accused the commissioners of obstructing his reform mandate by abolishing his positions.
Commissioner Joe Carullo, a Cuban politician, and the other two Cuban Americans said they were deeply offended when reports emerged last month that Acevedo had spoken to officers about a “Cuban mafia” running the city. He later apologized, saying he did not know that was the term former Cuban leader Fidel Castro used to refer to the exiles.
“He must be the only person of Cuban descent in the world who doesn’t know that,” Carulo said. “You are not in the middle of the Amazon.”
Among other things, city commissioners alleged that Acevedo was a hypocrite for firing officers for some of the things he was accused of.
Carolo, the most vocal politician opposed to the Acevedo leadership, examined an older photo in which the police chief was seen using a “white power” hand gesture similar to the “ok” hand gesture, saying that Acevedo had relieved an officer of duty by Acevedo after he was accused of using the same gesture.
Carolo and another commissioner are also examining damages seen on Acevedo’s SUVs that they claim have not been properly reported. They say it was similar to the incident that led to Acevedo shooting the husband and wife of police officers.
Assistant Police Chief Mane Morales will take over as interim chief while the city searches for a permanent replacement.
The Associated Press was unable to reach Acevedo for comment on his dismissal on Monday night.
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