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Miami moves to fire police chief six months after being hired

Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo has been suspended pending termination, city officials said Monday. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI
Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo has been suspended pending termination, city officials said Monday. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Miami officials on Monday suspended police chief Art Acevedo with the intent to fire him following six months of tumult as the city's top cop.

City Manager Art Noriega announced Acevedo's pending ouster in a statement Monday night, explaining the chief's relationship with the city "has become untenable and needed to be resolved promptly."

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"The relationship between the chief and the police department he leads -- as well as with the community -- has deteriorated beyond repair," Noriega wrote, adding "[i]t is now time to move forward with the search for new leadership at MPD."

Assistant Police Chief Manny Morales will be appointed interim chief amid the search, Noriega said.

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The suspension pending termination forces a hearing before a five-member commission that is widely expected to approve of Acevedo's firing, the Miami Herald reported.

Noriega announced Acevedo's suspension some six months after he was hired from Houston where he was the police chief since 2016.

Since being sworn in April 5, Acevedo, 57, has stirred up controversy and angered police brass over decisions and comments he made at the department's helm.

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During his tenure, he "accidentally" posed for a picture with a leader of the Proud Boys, accused commissioners of interfering with internal affairs investigations, referred to those who led his department as the "Cuban Mafia" and demoted four majors, including the department's second-highest-ranking Black woman officer.

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As the controversial decisions piled up, Noriega had asked Acevedo to submit a plan on changes to reduce violence in the city as well as improve morale among police and the public's confidence in the force, which he submitted last week.

"I probably moved too quickly to affect change," Acevedo wrote in his report, a copy of which was published by WLPG.

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Concerning the offensive comment, which former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is known to have used to characterize those who fled the country under his regime, Acevedo said it was "offensive" and made in reference to the lack of diversity among MPD ranks but he has apologized for it and "will continue to strive to be mindful of the way I address issues moving forward."

Noriega, however, said Acevedo failed to offer any plan to address how he would boost officer morale and improve community relations, CNN reported.

"In my view, there are problems with your leadership of the City of Miami Police Department, which have been created and fostered over your 23-week tenure," Noriega wrote. "Instead of taking the time to first commit yourself to developing and fostering trust both within the department and the community, you were brash and hasty in many of your comments and actions."

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Late Monday, Acevedo wrote an email to staff, stating it was a "privilege serving with you," the Herald reported.

"I promise to continue the good fight to ride MPD of political interference from City Hall that unfortunately continues to negatively impact this organization," he said.

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