Miami commissioners accept city manager’s recommendation to terminate Chief Art Acevedo


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.

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Attorney John Byrne said during a commission meeting on Thursday that Miami Chief Art Acevedo’s firing had nothing to do with his performance, but with the 8-page memo he wrote to the mayor and the city manager. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.)

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.

Two assistant chiefs told the Miami commission that Art Acevedo has lost the confidence of the rank and file and executive staff of the police department.
Two assistant chiefs told the Miami commission that Art Acevedo has lost the confidence of the rank and file and executive staff of the police department.

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.

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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

Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.



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