Miami officials have decided to fire the city’s new police chief six months into his stormy tenure, after he was lambasted by city commissioners who he accused of meddling in the police department and internal affairs investigations.
Miami City Manager Art Noriega said in a statement Monday that he suspended Chief 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.”
Art Acevedo was recruited by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who earlier this year hailed him as “America’s best chief.” He was seen as a progressive law enforcer who headed the police department in Houston, but also shared ancestry with hundreds of thousands 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 significant changes to his command staff. He demoted four majors and fired two high-level police officials because they weren’t truthful about a crash involving a city-issued SUV.
At two raucous meetings over the past month, commissioners attacked Acevedo and his leadership, appointing themselves to an investigative committee with subpoena power to examine his appointment.
Miami City Commissioner Manolo Reyes told WSVN-TV that “the only thing we asked for him was to be a chief. Not to be a politician. Not to be a critic for any elected official, the judges and the state attorney. Just to do his job as a chief.”
Commissioner Joe Carollo, a Cuban politician, and the other two Cuban Americans, have said they were deeply offended when reports emerged last month that Acevedo talked to officers about a “Cuban mafia” that runs the city. He later apologized, saying he didn’t know that was a term former Cuban leader Fidel Castro used to refer to exiles.
“He must be the only individual of Cuban background in the world who doesn’t know that,” Carollo said. “You are not in the middle of the Amazon.”
Assistant Police Chief Manny Morales will take over as interim chief while the city searches for a permanent replacement.