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Miami officials have fired the city’s new police chief six months after appointing him, and after being criticized by city commissioners, he accused of meddling in the police department and internal investigations.
City manager Art Noriega said he suspended Art Acevedo with the intent to terminate his employment.
“The relationship between the chief and the organization has become untenable and needed to be resolved promptly,” Noriega said. “Chief Acevedo is not the right fit for this organization.”
Mayor Francis Suarez recruited Acevedo and called him as “America’s best chief, seen as a progressive who led police in Houston but also shared the background of hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans in Miami.
Acevedo began making waves by assuming the internal affairs and making significant changes to command staff, including demoting four majors and firing two high-level officials because they were not truthful about a crash involving a city-issued vehicle.
Commissioners criticized Acevedo at two raucuous meetings this past month, appointing themselves to a committee with subpoena power to examine his appointment.
At one meeting, videos of Acevedo impersonating Elvis Presley and entering a dancefloor of a fundraiser, slapping a woman’s buttocks with a piece of paper, were played, and the other, city commissioner Joe Carollo said to arrest him right there if Acevedo actually had proof that Carollo and other politicians were interfering with internal affairs investigations.
Acevedo stated before those meetings that Carollo and the other commissioners were interfering with internal affairs investigations and improperly ordering police resources to be deployed against certain establishments “based on nothing more than the whims of commissioners."
I went to Mayor @FrancisSuarez’s press conference after the Miami police chief was fired for exposing criminality by commissioners. Suarez said the chief wasn’t “compatible” with the city. I asked Suarez if that’s because he exposed corruption and made politicians uncomfortable. pic.twitter.com/A9LUYiysQa
Carollo was also deeply offended when reports emerged last month that Acevedo said to offices that a “Cuban mafia” runs the city. Acevedo later apologized, saying he didn’t know that was a term former Cuban leader Fidel Castro used to refer to exiles.
The city commissioners said Acevedo was hypocritical for firing officers for some of the things he is accused of doing, including a “white power” hand gesture similar to the "OK" sign for which another Miami officer was relieved of duty by Acevedo after using the same gesture, as well as for damages seen on Acevedo’s SUV the commissioners claim was not properly reported, similar to the incident that led to Acevedo’s firing of the two police officers.
While the city searches for a permanent replacement, assistant police chief Manny Morales will take over as interim chief.