Miami commissioners don’t mince words about new police chief Art Acevedo

Police chief sends mayor, city manager eight-page memo prior to special Monday meeting

Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo, who has been candid about his displeasure with Miami Police Chief Acevedo, started off a Monday commission meeting with no nonsense words about why the special meeting had been called.

MIAMI – Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo, who has been candid about his displeasure with Miami Police Chief Acevedo, started off a Monday commission meeting with no nonsense words about why the special meeting had been called.

“Mr. Acevedo thought that he would intimidate us to bow down to him so he could do whatever he wants,” Carollo said.

The meeting, which was called for 10 a.m., but didn’t start until after 11 a.m., was to discuss the police chief’s recent performance and to address a series of actions and statements by Acevedo. The commissioners broke for lunch from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. when they were expected to return and also hear comments from the public. They began just before 3 p.m.

Acevedo made recent headlines for a comment about the “Cuban mafia running Miami police,” a term used by late Cuban leader Fidel Castro referring to Cuban exiles.

Acevedo, a Cuban American, issued an apology. Previously Houston’s top cop, Acevedo was appointed to lead Miami’s department in March. His five months as chief have been marred in controversy.

However, a few days before Monday’s meeting, Acevedo sent an eight-page memo to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and City Manager Arthur Noriega. Part of his allegations in the memo were that three sitting commissioners, including Corollo who originally called for the meeting to be held, tried to interfere in a recent internal affairs investigation.

“On or about June 3, 2021, I ordered the IAD (Internal Affairs Division) investigation after the department identified a breach of operational security involving the Sergeant-At-Arms Detail (SAAD), which is the detail tasked with providing executive protection to the Mayor and City Commissioners. Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla and other commissioners have publicly identified Luis Camacho as the SAAD member involved in the investigation. I understand that Camacho is very close to Commissioner Diaz de a Portilla and is well-liked by Commissioners Joe Carollo and Manolo Reyes.

Carollo said the memo is “full of lies.”

(See the eight-page memo Acevedo sent to mayor, city manager.)

The commission has no power to remove Acevedo but can make a recommendation of removal.

(Watch the first part of Monday’s meeting below. The second part can be seen further down this page)

“We want an independent investigator — someone hired by the city attorney and will answer only to the commission and would have subpoena power,” suggested Commissioner Manolo Reyes. “Let’s investigate everything,” he said.

Carollo said that the tenure and actions of Acevedo while he has been in the city of Miami has “been a rerun” of the chief’s time while heading police departments in California, Austin, Texas, and most recently, Houston, Texas.

Ahead of Monday’s meeting, trucks were seen in Coconut Grove saying “Art Acevedo, the LeBron James of self-promotion.”

Another read: “He was sued by sex assault survivors for not taking rape seriously.”

Acevedo’s arrival was met with objections from the start, with city insiders saying commissioners feel they should have played a bigger role in hiring the chief.

(Watch the second part of the Monday’s commission meeting below)

In July, the commission voted 4-1 to change the charter and take the reigns to hire a chief, which was done by Noriega. Suarez has moved to block that change.

Former FOP president Javier Ortiz pointed out some positives about Acevedo.

“This is the only chief of police that I am aware of in my career that has advocated to give us raises and understands the treatment between us and Miami-Dade police,” Ortiz said.

There’s also a petition online calling for Acevedo to remain chief.

Carollo previously said: “I’ll be darned if I’m going to let a new transplant come here and think that he could do whatever the heck he wants to do, or say and act like he’s got no bosses whatsoever.”

About the Authors:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local