Miami’s new police chief being fired after only 6 months

Regional News

FILE – In this Nov. 20, 2019 file photo, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo speaks during a press conference at HPD headquarters in Houston. Miami officials said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, they have decided to fire Acevedo, the city’s new police chief, after he was lambasted by city commissioners who he accused of meddling in the police department and internal affairs investigations. Acevedo was recruited by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and was sworn in in April. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

MIAMI (AP) — 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 Monday that he suspended Chief Art Acevedo with the intent to terminate his employment.

Noriega said the relationship between Acevedo and the organization has become untenable and needed to be resolved promptly.

Acevedo was recruited by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and was sworn in in April.

At two raucous meetings over the past month, commissioners attacked Acevedo and his leadership.

The Associated Press was unable to reach Acevedo for a comment about his firing Monday night.

When Suarez recruited Acevedo six months ago, he praised him as “America’s best chief.”

Acevedo had a national profile as a progressive law enforcer in Texas, with a deft touch at building community support. And as a Cuban refugee, born in Havana, he was presented as a perfect fit for the city’s Cuban American culture.

But Acevedo — who grew up in California — isn’t a Miami Cuban, and it didn’t take long for his outsider status to clash with the city’s powers-that-be. 

Last month, Acevedo, 57, sent an eight-page memo to the mayor and city manager, accusing several commissioners of hampering his reform mandate by eliminating positions and interfering with internal affairs investigations.

Acevedo came to Miami after serving more than four years as police chief in Houston, where he gained national prominence by calling for gun control, marching with protesters after George Floyd’s death and criticizing former President Donald Trump. He vowed to reform the department, acknowledging communities of color are disproportionately impacted by bad policing.

But he was soon criticized after firing two high-level police officials and relieving of duty a sergeant-at-arms.

Also last month, Acevedo angered Cuban when reports emerged that he 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. Three of the five city commissioners are Cuban American.

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