Miami police chief suspended, reportedly on track to be terminated
MIAMI, Florida - After only six months on the job, the head of the Miami Police Department has been suspended and may eventually be altogether removed from his position, CNN reports.
Police Chief Art Acevedo was suspended by City Manager Art Noriega, who released a statement Monday saying he intends to fire Acevedo.
Acevedo's suspension comes after he publicly accused three city commissioners of meddling with the police department's reform efforts and interfering in a confidential internal investigation.
Late last month, Chief Acevedo expressed the above concerns to Mayor Francis Suarez and City Manager Art Noriega, the man who shortly thereafter appeared to orchestrate Acevedo's suspension.
But Noriega wasn't alone in expressing extreme distaste for Acevedo's public criticism. A number of officials spoke out against the police chief for this and for certain disturbing statements they said he made to officers.
For example, Acevedo allegedly told officers during roll call in August that the "Cuban Mafia runs the Miami Police Department."
Officials said this statement resulted in the alienation of a "large section of the department, his staff, and the public."
Acevedo later issued an apology for making the comment and said his intention was to, "highlight the importance of diversity within our own ranks and to lighten our discussion," but added that he has since learned it was "highly offensive to the exile Cuban community, of which I am a proud member."
Despite this apology, after Acevedo's most recent open criticism of Miami government, officials held two meetings regarding his position as Chief of Police.
At one of those meetings, videos were played of Acevedo impersonating Elvis Presley while dancing to “Jailhouse Rock.” He's seen slapping a woman's rear with a piece of paper as he takes to the dance floor.
At another meeting, city commissioner Joe Carollo asked officials to arrest him right there by him if it was true that Chief Acevedo had proof that he and other politicians were interfering with internal affairs investigations.
The meetings concluded with the decision that Acevedo had acted inappropriately and should temporarily step away from his duties while officials continue to analyze his role and whether or not it would be appropriate for him to stay on as Chief of Police.
City Manager Noriega issued a statement saying, "The relationship between the Chief and the organization has become untenable and needed to be resolved promptly. In particular, the relationship between the Chief and the Police Department he leads -- as well as with the community -- has deteriorated beyond repair."
"Relationships between employers and employees come down to fit and leadership style and unfortunately, Chief Acevedo is not the right fit for this organization," the statement continued. "It is now time to move forward with the search for new leadership at MPD."
Assistant Police Chief Manny Morales has been appointed as interim chief of the Miami Police Department as the city engages in the search for a permanent replacement.
The City Commission will hold proceedings within five days of Acevedo's suspension to hear the allegations against him and decide how to move forward.
Should the commission makes an affirmative judgment, Acevedo's suspension will immediately become a termination. Otherwise, Acevedo will be reinstated.
Officials decided that while he is suspended, Acevedo cannot issue any commands, orders or directives, neither can he remove or destroy any of the city's records, materials or equipment.
Prior to his role with Miami's Police Department, Acevedo was Houston's police chief for a little over four years. He resigned in March of this year, to serve in Miami.