MIAMI – Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo’s suspension turned into termination of employment on Thursday night at City Hall in Coconut Grove.
Commissioners Joe Carollo, Manolo Reyes, Alex Díaz de la Portilla, Jeffrey Watson, and Ken Russell voted unanimously to accept City Manager Art Noriega’s recommendation to terminate Acevedo.
Before the vote, Noriega presented his arguments for termination. Attorney Stephanie Marchman represented Noriega after he sent Acevedo a letter announcing his suspension Monday with a recommendation for termination. In it, he outlined eight points that include morale issues, off-color remarks, missteps in reporting car damage and vacation time, and an unauthorized hire.
Attorney John Byrne, who represented Acevedo, said Noriega’s recommendation had nothing to do with his performance. He said it was a consequence of the pressure he faced after Acevedo’s 8-page memo to Noriega and Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez. In it, he accused Carollo, Reyes, and Díaz de la Portilla of intervening with an MPD internal affairs investigation and other misconduct.
“He was suspended because he had the courage to do what many of us don’t have the courage to do: To speak truth to power,” Byrne said.
Byrne also said they object to his not having ample time to prepare his defense and thus did not plan to call any witnesses to plead his case during the meeting, which Russell described as a quasi-judicial hearing.
“We believe that this outcome is already preordained,” Byrne said, adding, “This is not a fair setting.”
The commission said their charter calls for the matter to be completed within five days, meaning they are within their right to hold the meeting Thursday. They also voted not to allow public comment at the meeting.
Atty: Do you agree Chief Acevedo has lost confidence from the rank and file @MiamiPD ? Interim Chief Manny Morales said “Yes”. He also claims Acevedo told him in a meeting “This place is full of backstabbers and snakes” @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/wO1ozWaNZq
— Christian De La Rosa (@delarosaWPLG) October 14, 2021
Suarez and Noriega circumvented the city process when they brought in Acevedo from Houston in the spring, a designated outsider to reform the MPD culture of insiders.
Acevedo has garnered support from many in the department, including advocates of police reform who have praised some of his early moves.
A battle in civil court is almost a foregone conclusion.
This is a developing story.
To read more about what led up to the meeting, click here.
Read Acevedo’s memo
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