Photo surfaces of Miami’s police chief making similar hand gesture to one that prompted investigation

A City of Miami Police officer is under investigation because of hand gestures seen in a photo that some construed as a white power signal, but Miami's new police chief can be seen making the same signal in a photo from his days in Houston.

MIAMI, Fla. – Local 10 News first reported how City of Miami Police Officer Daniel Ubeda was relieved of duty while he was under investigation for a hand gesture in a photo posted to social media.

The hand gesture was interpreted to be a symbol for white power, like the one the Anti-Defamation League shows is co-opted by racists.

Now, after Local 10′s report about the department’s investigation of Ubeda’s move, a photo has turned up from an event in Houston when Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo was that city’s police chief.

We spoke with Houston’s current Chief Of Police Troy Finner who was there when the photo of Acevedo was snapped where Acevedo was “throwing up the threes.”

“That’s at Jack Yates High School, Third Ward. There’s so much pride. That’s a historically African-American community in Houston. If you talk to any Third Ward person, they call it ‘throwing up the threes,” Finner said.

A quick online searched showed all kind of examples of Houston’s Third Ward sign of pride including from singer Beyoncé repping her hometown.

So, what was Ubeda’s intent in the controversial photo?

We asked Tommy Reyes president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.

“Did he know that hand signal could be construed as a racist hand signal?”

Reyes, while talking to us, showed us a signal saying, “This signal he knows. This is, in our opinion, a whole different signal.”

The police union’s president said Ubeda was signaling three and three — six — which represented the number of motormen on his shift; it was nothing to do with white power.

It will be up to investigators to find evidence otherwise.

“I hope people slow down and truly investigate,” Finner suggested. “Let the facts and evidence take them where it leads.”

Hours after the photo of Acevedo was unearthed, Reyes, on behalf of FOP, wrote a letter to the chief himself demanding that Ubeda be reinstated to full duty and that the investigation against him be dropped.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."