Miami moves to terminate police chief who said city is run by 'Cuban mafia'

Miami moves to terminate police chief who said city is run by 'Cuban mafia'
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The city of Miami is moving to fire its police chief after he said the city is run by “Cuban mafia.”

In an emailed statement on Monday, Miami City Manager Art Noriega announced that he suspended police chief Art Acevedo with the “intent to terminate his employment.”

“The relationship between the Chief and the organization has become untenable and needed to be resolved promptly,” Noriega said in a statement. “In particular, the relationship between the Chief and the Police Department he leads - as well as with the community - has deteriorated beyond repair.”  

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The Miami Police Department referred questions about Acevedo’s suspension to the city.

During a roll call in August, Acevedo said “Miami is run by the Cuban mafia.” Reports of the meeting emerged a month later, an NBC affiliate reported at the time, sparking backlash from the Fraternal Order of Police. 

Acevedo said in a statement last month that "while the comment was meant to be humorous, I have since learned that it is highly offensive to the exile Cuban community, of which I am a proud member." 

In a suspension letter shared with The Hill, Noriega said the chief “alienated a large section of the department, his staff and the public.”

“As a new transplant to Miami, I expect him to understand the community which he is charged with protecting and a statement like that negatively affected the mission of the Miami Police Department,” Noriega wrote.

Acevedo was appointed to the role in March after serving as chief of the Houston Police Department, according to The Associated Press.

As of Oct. 1, the chief “has lost the confidence and trust of the rank-and-file,” Noriega wrote in his letter.

Acevedo made an unauthorized threat to discipline employees who did not get vaccinated against the coronavirus, and allegedly did not intervene when his deputy chief assaulted executive staff after a meeting, the letter said.

He also allegedly failed to report damage to his vehicle until 10 days after the vehicle was damaged.  

The City Commission will have five days from receiving the letter to hold proceedings on the suspension.