Art Acevedo was responsible for the egregious corruption that occurred in Houston’s Police Department. He is now about to lose his job as Miami’s Police Chief, which he held for just six months. Acevedo’s shameful downfall represents a dramatic turnaround from his March-hired effusive praise.
Back then, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez called Acevedo “the best chief in America”—the “Michael Jordan” or “Tom Brady” of police chiefs. Art Noriega (City Manager) said that Acevedo has managed to discredit nearly everybody through his gaffes, inflamatory statements and controversial decisions.
“The relationship between the chief and the police department he leads—as well as with the community—has deteriorated beyond repair,” Noriega said in a statement announcing Acevedo’s suspension. The relationship between employees and employers is determined by the employee’s fit and leadership style. Unfortunately, Chief Acevedo does not fit this role.
Acevedo’s demotion still must be approved by the Miami City Commission, which consists of five members. However, his most harsh critics are three of its members who made harsh remarks about Acevedo during recent public hearings.
Noriega stated to Acevedo, before suspending him that he had spoken out against Acevedo. “You were too quick to judge others and be too rash in your actions and comments.” Acevedo’s propensity to make dumb statements when he should be able to recognize this clearly in an incident that prompted the commissioners.
Acevedo, a Cuban-American Commissioner, made a joke about the Miami Police Department being run by “Cuban Mafia” during an August roll-call meeting. Acevedo was born and raised in Havana. The Cuban-American Commissioners Joe Carollo Diaz de la Portilla and ManoloReyes didn’t like Acevedo’s quip. They noted that this label was an homage to Fidel Castro’s treatment of Cubans who flee his dictatorship.
Acevedo apologised for his joke. He said, “While Acevedo intended the statement to be comical,” saidIn September on Twitter, I wrote, “I’ve learned it is extremely offensive to exile Cuban communities, which I am proud to be a member of.” Thank you to City of Miami Commissioners. They informed me that the Castro regime used the term “the Cuban Mafia” to refer to exiles in Miami. “I was born in Los Angeles as a proud Cuban citizen and didn’t realize this.
Acevedo, who had been subject to constant criticisms about his work performance, was no longer in the mood for a patch up. In an eight-page memo accusing Carollo et al. Acevedo accused Carollo and his associates of interfering “with reform efforts” as well as a confidential internal investigation. In his final paragraph Acevedo stated that MPD and I would give in to “the improper actions described therein.” He also said that he and his family could as well have remained communist Cubans because Miami or MPD are no different from the oppressive regime and police state we had.
They aren’t the words of someone who wants to continue his job. Other complaints about Acevedo include his critique of various personnel decisions (which critics called unfair or hypocritical), his choice to take a photo with a leader of far-right Proud Boys in his locality (Acevedo claimed he didn’t know the name of the man), and his appearance as Elvis Presley at a fundraising event in a tight jumpsuit.
Although some points may be controversial or irrelevant, Miami officials were right to be suspicious of Acevedo’s abilities before hiring him. Acevedo, despite his claims of being a reformer, defended Houston’s narcotics officers that killed Dennis Tuttle (middle-aged) and Rhogena Nick (middle-aged), during a raid in 2019 that was authorized by a false search warrant. He repeatedly lauded the cops—including Gerald Goines, the veteran narcotics officer who invented a heroin purchase by a nonexistent confidential informant to justify the deadly raid—as “heroes” while posthumously tarring Tuttle and Nicholas as armed and dangerous drug dealers. Acevedo claimed that the cops had “probable cause” to be there, even after Goines’ lies became public.
Acevedo, in response to the raid announced late reforms. These included restrictions on no-knock warrants as well as a requirement for narcotics officers to wear body cameras during raids. Acevedo, despite the fact that everything was false from the beginning, denied the raid was due to a systemic problem within his Narcotics Division. This division had not been audited in nearly 20 years. The FBI’s and Harris County District Attorney’s Offices’ investigations, along with the alarming audit report, paint a completely different picture.
Goines was also charged with federal civil rights violations and felony murder. Steven Bryant (Goines’ former colleague), who supported Goines’ false story of a drug deal, pleaded guilty in June to the federal charge. The Houston Police Department discovered that Goines had 34 years of experience in framing suspects with drugs.
District Attorney Kim Ogg stated last year that if the magistrate Goines had asked for a warrant to allow the raid on Harding Street to take place, “he would have refused to sign it, and Rhogena or Dennis would probably still be living today.” The prosecution eventually charged 12 Houston officers who were narcotics agents with murder.
Ogg explained that without their supervision, “Goines or others would never have preyed so heavily on our community like they did.” Ogg stated that “every check and balance was in place to prevent this kind of behavior.”
Nicholas’ parents and brother filed a federal suit last January. They claim that Acevedo, despite promising them “the facts will come out”, stubbornly rejected their attempts to discover the truth. According to their complaint, Acevedo “simply removed…two fall guys—Goines and Bryant—to contain the investigation and dodge any meaningful review or oversight of the corruption that has consumed” Squad 15 of the Narcotics Division, which “operated as a criminal organization and tormented Houston residents for years by depriving their rights to privacy, dignity, and safety.”
Acevedo switched jobs in the midst of this ongoing scandal—on its face, a puzzling career move, since Miami’s police department is much smaller than Houston’s. It is difficult to believe Acevedo’s claim that he was dismissed from his job due to his reform efforts, given his Houston history.