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Miami Mayor Francis Suarez Has Full Confidence In City Manager To Handle Police Chief Controversy

CBS Miami logo CBS Miami 10/6/2021 Syndicated Local – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Mayor Francis Suarez played an important role in the hiring of Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo.

In recent weeks, however, he has shied away from speaking publicly about the controversy involving the chief and the commissioners.

On Tuesday, Suarez released a statement on the situation.

“Like I said yesterday in a statement I released, I have full faith and confidence in the City Manager’s ability to manage the situation in a way that is best for the public safety for my residents and for a collegial environment in the city,” he told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench on Wednesday.

D’oench then asked Suarez if he has confidence in Chief Acevedo at this point.

“I have confidence in my City Manager’s ability to manage the situation,” Suarez replied.

The 57-year-old Acevedo was the subject of two stormy meetings at City Hall last week. He was criticized for a comment he made about the police department being run by the “Cuban mafia,” that he had demoted several police officers and supervisors and that he had done a controversial Elvis Presley impersonation during a fundraiser.


Video: Special City Of Miami Commission Meeting Held To Discuss Future Of Chief Art Acevedo (CBS Miami)

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There have been a series of demotions and firings. Most recently and one month after she became the first female Deputy Police Chief in the history of the Police Department, Heather Morris learned from the City Manager that her job had been abolished. She had been brought by Acevedo from the Houston Police Department.

Last Friday, City Commissioner Joe Carollo said he had heard that Acevedo was planning to have him and two other commissioners arrested for retaliation. The City Manager Arthur Noriega said that was not going to happen.

Noriega sent Acevedo a memo requesting that he submit an action plan for police reforms, his vision for the management of the department, ways to improve officer morale, his interactions with the media and public relations, and how he would repair relations with elected officials.

In his report, Acevedo called for reducing gun violence by seven percent by focusing on five neighborhoods with the most gun crimes. He said other focuses would include cracking down on illegal liquor sales, homelessness issues, improving police morale with an employee survey, strengthening special operations, and improving ties with commissioners over 90 days.

Suarez applauded the plan.

“I think the action report is exactly what we need to do in the City of Miami. We need to reduce gun violence. We have reduced our murder rate this year. In my four years as mayor have reduced homicides three out of the four years and that’s my goal on annual basis. That’s something the police department needs to achieve every year,” he said.

In response to queries about Acevedo and the friction that has arisen, Noriega issued a statement which said, “While the recent issues surrounding Chief Acevedo’s tenure with the City have played out very publicly, this is now a personnel matter between an individual employee and the City. As such, I will not be making any further comment regarding the matter.”

While Suarez did speak directly about Acevedo, he did say he had full faith in his city manager who hire Acevedo from Houston.

Acevedo, who has been on the job for six months, said he’s been ordered not to comment on the matter.

The issue could surface once again at the city commission meeting next week.

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