Art Acevedo, who led the Lux-supervised corruption scandal as head of the Houston Police Department, will be fired from his new gig as Miami police chief, a job he held for only six months. Acevedo’s humiliating fall is a significant change from the acclaimed acclaim he received during his appointment in March.
Then-Miami Mayor Francis Suarez called Asevedo “America’s best chief” – “Michael Jordan” or police chief “Tom Brady”. Last night, City manager Art Noriega said Acevedo was able to isolate everyone through a number of gaffs, inflammatory statements and controversial decisions.
“Relations between the chief and the leadership of the police department, as well as with the community, have deteriorated,” Noriga said in a statement announcing Acevedo’s suspension. “The relationship between employers and employees comes down to fit and leadership style and unfortunately, Chief Acevedo is not suitable for this organization.”
Acevedo’s dismissal still has to be finalized by the five-member Miami City Commission. But his harshest critics include three members of the body who recently reprimanded him for more than 20 hours in a two-day public hearing.
“Instead of taking the time to first commit yourself to developing and disseminating the truth within both the department and the community,” Noriega told Acevedo before dismissing him temporarily, “you were cruel and hasty in many of your comments and actions.” An incident that provoked the commissioners nicely highlighted Acevedo’s tendency to speak foolishly in order to know better.
During a roll-call meeting in August, Acevedo, who was born in Havana and grew up in El Monte, California, joked that the Miami Police Department was run by the “Cuban Mafia.” The comment did not sit well with Cuban-American commissioners Joe Carroll, Diaz de la Portilla and Manolo Reyes, who noted that the label returned to portraying Fidel Castro’s Cubans who had fled his oppressive regime.
Acevedo apologized for the joke. “Although the statement was made to be ridiculous,” he said Said On Twitter in September, “I have since learned that this is extremely offensive to the exiled Cuban community, of which I am a proud member. I would like to thank the city of Miami Commissioner for kindly informing me this morning that historically the Castro regime has “After growing up as a proud Cuban in the Los Angeles area, I was unaware of this fact.”
A few weeks later, after constant criticism of his work performance, Acevedo was no longer in the mood to patch things up. In an eight-page memo accusing Carolo et al. Due to his interference in “reform efforts” and “confidential internal investigations”, Asevedo compared them to Cuban dictators. “If I or the MPD succumbed to the inappropriate actions described here,” he said in his concluding paragraph, “I and my family could have stayed in Communist Cuba, because Miami and the MPD would not be better than repressive regimes and the police state we left behind.”
These are not about a man trying to hold on to his job. Other allegations against Acevedo included the decision of various activists to be criticized by critics as unfair or hypocritical, the release of his early captives and criticism of the sentences he deemed insufficiently serious, his decision to take pictures of right-wing proud boys with a local leader (Acevedo said That he does not know who the man is), and even his appearance after Elvis Presley’s attire in a fundraiser.
Although some of these points are controversial or trivial, Miami officials had good reason to be cautious before hiring Acevedo. Despite his self-portrayal as a reformer, Acevedo defended Houston drug officers who killed a middle-aged couple, Dennis Tuttle and Rosena Nicholas, based on a fraudulent search warrant during a 2019 raid. He has repeatedly praised the police – including Gerald Gowens, a veteran drug officer who invented a Halloween purchase – to justify a “deadly operation” by a non-existent intelligence informant as the protagonist – to identify the posthumous Tuttle and Nicholas as armed and dangerous drug dealers. Even after Goenz’s lie was exposed, Acevedo bizarrely claimed that the police had “a possible reason to be there.”
In response to the raid, Acevedo announced delayed reforms, including restrictions on no-knock warrants and the requirement for drug officers to wear body cameras during drug raids. But when it was discovered that the whole operation was based on lies from start to finish, Acevedo denied that it reflected a “systematic” problem in his department’s narcotics department, which had not been audited for nearly two decades. The investigation by the FBI and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, together with a disturbing audit report published last year, paints a different picture.
Goens was charged with violating federal civil rights, criminal murder and forging government records. In June, his former colleague Steven Bryant, who backed Goens’ fictional story about a drug deal that never happened, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of obstructing the trial by calling the record a lie. Local prosecutors have discovered that Goens had a long history of drug suspects serving in the Houston Police Department for 34 years.
“The magistrate who asked Guens to sign the warrant for the raid on Harding Street knew the history of lies and fraud,” District Attorney Kim Ogg saw last year, “he didn’t sign it, and Rosena and Dennis probably still survive today.” A dozen Houston drug officers have been charged with various crimes, including murder, making false overtime claims and making false allegations in a police report.
“Goens and others would never have hunted the way they did in our community without the participation of their supervisors,” Ogg said. “Every check and balance was disrupted to stop such behavior.”
In a federal lawsuit they filed last January, Nicholas’ mother and brother Acevedo said they were adamant about their efforts to uncover the truth of the operation, including how and why Nicholas was killed, despite the promise that “the truth is about to come out.” According to their complaint, Acevedo “removed … two fallen men – Goens and Bryant” to control the investigation and to avoid any meaningful review or surveillance of the “Squad 15 of the Narcotics Division, which” acts as a criminal organization and has been a Houston resident for several years. Deprived them of the right to privacy, dignity and security. “
In the midst of this ongoing scandal, Acevedo has changed jobs – a career puzzle in his face, as the Miami Police Department is much smaller than Houston. Given his history in Houston, it’s hard to believe the claim that he was fired from his new job because of his “reform efforts”.