wplg logo

Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo on the way out after turbulent 6 months

City manager announces suspension and plans to fire chief

Six months after his hiring, Art Acevedo has been suspended by Miami's city manager, who said he will take steps to terminate him.
Six months after his hiring, Art Acevedo has been suspended by Miami's city manager, who said he will take steps to terminate him.

MIAMI – After just six months, Art Acevedo is on his way out as Miami’s police chief.

City Manager Art Noriega announced Monday night that he was suspending Acevedo with the intent of terminating his employment, saying the chief’s relationship with his department and the community “has deteriorated beyond repair.”

“This was a difficult decision, and it marks the beginning of the end of an unfortunate episode for our city,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, backing Noriega’s handling of the situation.

“Although it is clear that Chief Acevedo has the qualifications and the experience to be an effective chief of police, it is also obvious that his personality and leadership style are incompatible with the structure of our city’s government,” added Suarez, who trumpeted Acevedo’s hiring back in the spring. “The status quo where a top city administrator is at war with the city’s elected leadership is simply untenable and unsustainable.”

WATCH A REPLAY OF MAYOR SUAREZ’S NEWS CONFERENCE:

The move comes as Acevedo and three city commissioners have had a very public feud in recent weeks. Commissioners Joe Carollo, Manolo Reyes, and Alex Díaz de la Portilla made it clear they wanted the chief off the job.

Acevedo had fired back, accusing City Hall of interfering with police work.

In a two-page letter Monday, Noriega outlined eight reasons for Acevedo’s dismissal, including losing the trust of some officers, offending members of the community by using the term “Cuban Mafia,” and failing to report damage to his city vehicle in a timely manner.

See Noriega’s full letter to Acevedo at the bottom of this page. He also released a statement on the move, saying:

“Today, I suspended Police Chief Art Acevedo with the intent to terminate his employment, consistent with the City Charter.

“The relationship between the Chief and the organization has become untenable and needed to be resolved promptly. In particular, the relationship between the Chief and the Police Department he leads - as well as with the community - has deteriorated beyond repair. Relationships between employers and employees come down to fit and leadership style and unfortunately, Chief Acevedo is not the right fit for this organization.

“It is now time to move forward with the search for new leadership at MPD. Assistant Police Chief Manny Morales will be appointed as interim chief as the City engages in the search for a permanent replacement.”

Last week, at the city manager’s request, Acevedo delivered a 24-page report to Noriega on how to reduce gun violence, boost morale and improve relationships with city commissioners.

In the report, Acevedo admitted to making some mistakes and perhaps moving too quickly to implement certain changes.

Miami’s City Manager announced plans to fire the city’s police chief.
Miami’s City Manager announced plans to fire the city’s police chief.

Acevedo’s hiring was announced in March while he was serving in the same role in Houston.

He was sworn in as Miami’s police chief in April and highly touted by Suarez, who last week deferred to Noriega to handle the bubbling situation.

Late Monday, as word of his suspension was announced, Acevedo wrote an email to staff, saying, in part:

“I promise to continue to fight the good fight to rid MPD of the political interference from city hall that unfortunately continues to negatively impact this organization.”

His temporary replacement, the department’s Assistant Chief Manny Morales, was at headquarters Tuesday morning for a special event honoring the young survivor of a fatal house fire.

Morales did not take any questions from reporters. He was pulled away, with staff saying he would not be talking about the matter.

SEE THE FULL LETTER FROM NORIEGA TO ACEVEDO BELOW:


About the Authors:

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.