Miami Police Chief’s future, rock star Art Acevedo, has been on the ice for 6 months

In the memo, Acevedo accused city commissioners Joe Carollo, Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Manolo Reyes of interfering with reform efforts and a confidential internal investigation.

Commissioners Carollo, de la Portilla and Reyes could not be reached for comment when contacted by CNN. Mayor Suarez and City Manager Noriega could also not be reached for comment.

The second meeting ended with a unanimous vote of the commissioners to form a panel that will investigate the hiring of Acevedo and the allegations against the commissioners set out in his memo.

Acevedo, the first Latino to lead the Houston Police Department, was dubbed by the mayor of Miami the “Tom Brady or Michael Jordan of Police Chiefs” when he was hired.

He has stepped onto the national stage as a police chief who has been very present in discussions on police reform and public security, calling for national standards on the use of force by police and marching with protesters after George Floyd was killed by officers in Minneapolis.

In his memo last month, Acevedo wrote: “If I or MPD give in to the inappropriate actions described here, as a Cuban immigrant, my family and I might as well have stayed in Communist Cuba, because Miami and MPD do not. no better than the repressive regime and the police state that we have left behind.

During meetings earlier this month, commissioners dissected Acevedo’s background, focusing on his time in Houston, and criticized the way Acevedo was hired, saying he didn’t follow typical protocol.

An NBC 6 investigation revealed that Acevedo had not formally applied for the post of chef; however, the mayor recommended Acevedo for the job while in Houston and the city manager hired him. He was selected from over 50 applicants and eight finalists, including five internal applicants who went through a selection process.
According to NBC 6, Suarez previously defended the hiring of the chief, saying, “It has been a terrific recruiting job on our manager’s part to basically get what the chief of the US police is here in Miami.”

Acevedo faces backlash for demoting 2 officers and sacking another

Since then, several controversial measures by Acevedo have strained its relationship with the city over the past six months, said Alexis Piquero, chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Miami.

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Acevedo faced backlash from his own police force when he fired two high-ranking officers and demoted a high-ranking Black Miami police officer earlier this year, then appeared to support a Covid-19 vaccination warrant for officers. But the tipping point, according to Piquero, was when Acevedo told officers on a roll call in August that the “Cuban Mafia was running the Miami Police Department.”
Acevedo then apologized, saying his comment was intended to “highlight the importance of diversity within our own ranks and lighten our discussion,” but added that he had since learned he was “very offensive. for the Cuban community in exile, of which I am a proud member. ”

When contacted by CNN to comment on the meetings and the allegations, Acevedo said he was “ordered by the city not to discuss these matters.”

City manager asks for a plan for the police department

City manager Noriega asked Acevedo to submit a plan to change the problems within the police service, and Acevedo presented a 90-day action plan on October 4 to improve service in several areas, including strengthening the morale of officers, repairing relations with elected officials and a police and management plan.

“Although there have been bumps in the road, I hit the reset button and look forward to working diligently to accomplish the mission given to me to build on the successes of my predecessors, ”Acevedo wrote in the plan.

Under the City of Miami Charter, the commission is a legislative body that does not have the power to give direction to the police department and cannot hire or fire a chief of police. But the chief of police reports directly to the city manager, who is hired by the commission and has the ability to terminate the chief of police’s contract.

“Sufficient pressure can be put on the city manager to do something with the police chief, whether to discipline or sanction him, or otherwise have it both ways,” said Richard Rivera, a former city ​​police policy analyst who was a member of a police oversight committee.

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Commissioners can also exercise “a lot of control and authority” as they can change the city’s budget at any time, potentially overturning the chief’s plans for a particular unit or hiring a number of officers, Rivera said.

“It is up to a police officer to work in collaboration with the commissioners,” he added.

While Acevedo’s future in the department is uncertain, he faces one of three options in the coming weeks: Acevedo can commit to mending his relationship with the commissioners, he can decide the relationship is untenable and choose to resign, or the city may decide to fire him, according to City Commissioner Ken Russell, who has said he supports hiring Acevedo but is now on the “side of the process” to bring back the leadership of the city on stable ground.

“My hope is that the chief and the general manager will sort this out, but particularly quickly because instability in a police department is not good for a city our size,” Russell told CNN.

What could happen next

So far, the five commissioners have not passed any resolution of condemnation or judgment on the leader, Russell said. Three commissioners were charged with wrongdoing, and those commissioners in turn accused the count of “inappropriate actions”, he added.

“The meetings shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Russell said. “An open discussion of what should be a carefully considered accusation can only put the city at risk.”

“What happens when you don’t have leadership that has the support of management and the elected body is it undermines their ability to manage a police force,” Russell said. “When you have a leader whose main goal is reform, transparency and accountability, you need him to have the support of those he works with. So it is very important that we are a cohesive body.”

The most plausible scenario, Piquero said, is that talks continue over the next few weeks and Acevedo remains in power. Acevedo is unlikely to resign, he said, as his memo underscores his “sworn duty … to uphold the rule of law” and to work for the “well-being of the men and women of the world. MPD “as well as the city. He is also unlikely to be fired due to his short tenure as leader, which typically lasts three to six years, and because he has been asked to write a plan.

“Noriega asked him to write a plan. You don’t ask for that and fire him,” Piquero said, adding that “it would be bad for everyone”.


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