Top Cop Who Presided Over Deadly Corruption in Houston Loses His New Job in Miami 6 Months After He Was Hired
Art Acevedo, who presided over deadly corruption abetted by lax supervision as head of the Houston Police Department, is about to be fired from his new gig as Miami’s police chief, a job he has held for only six months. Acevedo’s humiliating downfall is a remarkable turnaround from the effusive praise he received when he was hired in March.
Back then, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez called Acevedo “the best chief in America”—the “Michael Jordan” or “Tom Brady” of police chiefs. Last night, City Manager Art Noriega said Acevedo had managed to alienate pretty much everyone through a series of gaffes, inflammatory statements, and controversial decisions.
“The relationship between the chief and the police department he leads—as well as with the community—has deteriorated beyond repair,” Noriega said in a statement announcing Acevedo’s suspension. “Relationships between employers and employees come down to fit and leadership style and unfortunately, Chief Acevedo is not the right fit for this organization.”
Acevedo’s dismissal still has to be finalized by the five-member Miami City Commission. But his harshest critics include three members of that body, who recently castigated him for more than 20 hours during two days of public hearings.
“Instead of taking the time to first commit yourself to developing and fostering truth both within the department and the community,” Noriega told Acevedo before suspending him, “you were brash and hasty in many of your comments and actions.” One incident that provoked the commissioners nicely illustrates Acevedo’s penchant for saying dumb things when he ought to know better.
During an August roll-call meeting, Acevedo, who was born in Havana and raised in El Monte, California, joked that the Miami Police Department was run by the “Cuban Mafia.” That remark did not sit well with Cuban-American Commissioners Joe Carollo, Diaz de la Portilla, and Manolo Reyes, who noted that the label harked back to Fidel Castro’s portrayal of Cubans who fled his oppressive regime.
Acevedo apologized for the joke. “While the statement was made to be humorous,” he said on Twitter in September, “I have since learned that it is highly offensive to the exile Cuban community, of which I am a proud member. I want to thank City of Miami Commissioners for kindly informing me this morning that historically, the Castro regime referred to the exile community in Miami as ‘the Cuban Mafia.’ Having been raised in the Los Angeles area as a proud Cuban, I was not aware of this fact.”
A few weeks later, after persistent criticism of his job performance, Acevedo was no longer in a mood to patch things up. In an eight-page memo accusing Carollo et al. of interfering with his “reform efforts” and a “confidential internal investigation,” Acevedo likened them to Cuban dictators. “If I or MPD give in to the improper actions described herein,” he said in his closing paragraph, “I and my family might as well have remained in communist Cuba, because Miami and MPD would be no better than the repressive regime and the police state we left behind.”
These are not the words of a man who is trying to keep his job. The other complaints against Acevedo included various
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