Miami, FL – New Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo has outraged city commissioners who on Monday openly questioned his performance, the recent references he made to the Cuban Mafia, and even a tasteless dance performance he did for charity back in 2008 and have called for an independent investigation.
Miami city commissioners held a special meeting on Sept. 27 because they are angry about the way the former Houston police chief has begun his administration of their city’s police department, KTRK reported.
City lawmakers are furious with Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo for cleaning house and replacing those people with officials of his own choosing.
Commissioners were enraged when, after his staffing decisions were questioned, the new police chief said, “it’s like the Cuban Mafia runs Miami PD,” KTRK reported.
Chief Acevedo said the comment was a joke that referred to a lack of diversity within the police department wasn’t meant to be offensive to anyone.
He said he was making a point about the importance of diversity and wasn’t aware the reference was a derogatory nickname for the Cuban exile community in Miami.
Message from Chief Art Acevedo. pic.twitter.com/6mSzURqFX1
— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) September 9, 2021
Chief Acevedo was born in Havana, Cuba but grew up in California, according to KTRK.
Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo said at the special meeting on Sept. 27 that he wanted the police chief to focus more on running his department and less on being “out there at every event.”
Carollo said at a meeting earlier this month that “I will be darned if I am going to let a new transplant come here and think that he could do whatever the heck he wants to do or say,” WPLG reported.
The city commissioners do not have the power to fire Chief Acevedo, although they can recommend his termination.
However, the police chief answers to the city manager, and the city manager works at the will of the city commissioners, according to KTRK.
Carollo also showed a video to his colleagues of a questionably-tacky performance then-Houston Chief Acevedo made at a charity event 13 years ago where he pretended to spank a scantily clad woman on the rear end with a paper before he danced the Cha Cha with her in a competition.
The antics were part of a fundraiser for the Center for Child Protection but still seemed to horrify some Miami lawmakers, KTRK reported.
“The part I wanted to illustrate to you is that he comes in a police uniform, as the chief of the department, and he’s taken out a piece of paper, and hitting the lady, scantily dressed, but even if she was dressed like a nun, in the behind,” Carollo pointed out to his colleagues when he showed the video.
The commissioner appeared to be questioning the appropriateness of Chief Acevedo to head any police department.
Other city commissioners have called for a full investigation, WPLG reported.
“We want an independent investigator — someone hired by the city attorney and will answer only to the commission and would have subpoena power,” Miami City Commissioner Manolo Reyes said. “Let’s investigate everything.”
The police chief went head-to-head with city commissioners last week when he sent an eight-page memo to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami City Manager Arthur Noriega that alleged three of them had tried to interfere in an internal affairs investigation, KTRK reported.
Carollo was one the lawmakers that Chief Acevedo has accused of misconduct.
The commissioner said the police chief’s memo was “full of lies,” according to KTRK.
Chief Acevedo’s hiring was a controversial decision when it was made and it doesn’t appear that his popularity has grown in the five months since he became Miami’s top cop, WPLG reported.
There were trucks outside the special meeting about the police chief with signs that read “Art Acevedo, the LeBron James of self-promotion” and “He was sued by sex assault survivors for not taking rape seriously.”
City commissioners feel they should have had a bigger role in the final selection of the police chief, WPLG reported.