Billed by Miami's mayor just months ago as the Michael Jordan and Tom Brady of policing, top cop Art Acevedo ended up being "not the right fit" for Miami. The city manager decided this week to suspend Acevedo, with the intention of firing him, after a tumultuous six-month tenure in which the new police chief fired high-ranking officers and accused influential city commissioners of running the city the way Fidel Castro ruled Cuba. Despite Acevedo's origins in Havana, some among Miami's prominent Cuban American community regarded him as an outsider, the AP reports.
Raised in California, he was the first Hispanic to lead the Houston police department and earned name recognition after calling for gun control and marching with protesters following George Floyd’s death. Acevedo spoke at the Democratic convention and criticized Donald Trump, who gained enthusiastic support among Miami Cubans by taking a hard line as president against the leaders of Venezuela and Cuba. His toughest critic in Miami, Cuban American city commissioner Joe Carollo, said Acevedo isn't "a real Cuban." The ouster follows two raucous meetings where Carollo led other commissioners in lambasting Acevedo and his leadership, deciding to form an investigative committee with subpoena power to examine his appointment.
Acevedo began clashing with the police union almost immediately after his April swearing-in, by taking over internal affairs and making significant changes to his command staff. He demoted four majors and fired two high-level police officers—a married couple—because they weren’t truthful about a crash involving a city-issued SUV. Last month, reports emerged that Acevedo talked to officers about a "Cuban mafia" that runs the city. He later apologized and said he didn’t know that the late Castro used the term to refer to exiles in Miami.
City Manager Art Noriega appointed Assistant Police Chief Manny Morales as interim chief, and the commission will hold a special meeting about Acevedo on Wednesday. "The relationship between the Chief and the Police Department he leads—as well as with the community—has deteriorated beyond repair,” said Noriega in a statement released late Monday. "Relationships between employers and employees come down to fit and leadership style and unfortunately, Chief Acevedo is not the right fit for this organization." (Read more Miami stories.)