Former Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo’s reputation and career were on full display in Miami on Monday during a special meeting focused on his job performance after only five months.
Acevedo has been criticized for self-inflicted missteps that have not painted him or the department in a positive light, according to multiple city commissioners.
“I’ve never seen anybody make so many mistakes in such a short period of time,” said commissioner Alex Diaz De La Portilla.
The commissioners came out swinging against Acevedo in the morning session of the public meeting.
Commissioner Joe Carollo, a former two-time mayor of Miami, made it clear early on he was willing to take Acevedo on.
“Thank God this ain’t Texas. It’s Miami and we don’t get intimidated that easily in Miami,” Carollo said.
It was only five months ago that Acevedo was dubbed as the “Michael Jordan” of police chiefs during his hiring announcement. In the eyes of commissioners, Acevedo has been something totally different.
“He feels he can do whatever he pleases,” said Carollo.
Since his arrival, Acevedo has made headlines for department firings, posing with a senior member of the Proud Boys, and for saying the “Cuban Mafia” was running the Miami Police Department. The term is attributed to the late Fidel Castro who used it as a reference of Cuban exiles.
Commissioners questioned city manager Arthur Noriega extensively on incidents in Acevedo’s past and whether or not he and the Mayor had done their homework when hiring him.
“Did we do an in-depth vetting of him? No,” said Noriega when answering his own question.
When hired, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner initially said he was surprised by the hiring. However, Noriega stated that Turner was involved in the process.
“The mayor has a relationship with the current mayor in Houston. He connected us. The mayor spoke to him. I spoke to him, and he had nothing but positive things to say about the chief, in particular.”
When KPRC 2 Investigates asked mayor Sylvester Turner’s office about the comments made by Miami’s city manager, a spokesperson for Turner emailed the following statement:
“It would not be accurate to say the mayor was aware Chief Acevedo had been offered or accepted the position in the city of Miami. He did not know until the chief informed him.”
The hearing came a day after it emerged that Acevedo provided the city with an eight-page memo detailing alleged corruption involving Miami PD and the very commissioners who were questioning his performance today.
“What this man has put down is not believable, and it’s outrageous that he is trying to smear the reputation of the City of Miami Police Department,” said Carollo.
By late afternoon, the public session opened and Acevedo had his detractors and supporters.
“I think he has been given only a limited amount of time. I would like to see what the finished product is,” one member of a group of Miami PD officers supporting Acevedo said.
Another woman made her point crystal clear early on.
“This is disgusting. To have hired this chief is disgusting,” she said.
Acevedo did not make an appearance at the meeting before the commissioners. They on the other hand voted for an independent investigation into Acevedo’s corruption claims. The commissioners voting on securing an attorney with federal and state experience to investigate the allegations made by Acevedo in his memo.
The commissioners also scheduled a meeting for mid-October to further discuss Acevedo’s actions during his brief time as chief of Miami PD.