America’s most hated cop? Recently fired Miami police chief Art Acevedo lands interim police chief job with Aurora PD

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The editorial comments in this article are from a staff writer at Law Enforcement Today.

DENVER, CO – Getting fired from one job usually makes it difficult to find another job, especially of similar responsibilities. Yet, fired Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo has landed a spot as the interim police chief in Aurora, a diverse city just east of Denver.

Officers and paramedics with Aurora are currently facing criminal charges related to the 2019 death of a black man and as the department continues its search for the next police chief, Acevedo reached out to local officials and offered to serve as the interim chief.

Prior to his short stint in Miami, Acevedo was the chief of police in Austin and in Houston, Texas.

In the beginning of his time with Miami, the city’s mayor hailed him as the “Michael Jordan and Tom Brady” among police chiefs. But, it didn’t take too long for his true colors to show and he was fired.

Acevedo caused a lot of controversy when he decided to take over the internal affairs unit, which is the unit that investigates police misconduct and he made significant unwanted changes to his command staff.

After six months, he was fired from the job in Miami. In response, he later sued, claiming that is firing was in retaliation for speaking out against corruption and reporting abuses of power by other elected officials.

In addition to feuding with three city commissioners, officials said that Acevedo was fired because he lost the trust of some officers, offended community members by using the term “Cuban Mafia,” and failed to report damage to his city vehicle in a timely manner.

Following his termination, Acevedo sued the city and the three commissioners, claiming that they violated his First Amendment rights and retaliated against him after he uncovered alleged wrongdoing within the city government.

Acevedo’s lawsuit claims that Commissioners Joe Carollo, Alex Diaz de la Portilla, and Manolo Reyes targeted the former police chief because he wouldn’t let them use the Miami Police Department to “carry out their personal agendas and vendettas.”

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After being fired, Acevedo worked as a CNN law enforcement analyst and adviser for a body camera analytics company. Next up? Interim police chief of a city in Colorado that is dealing with its own issues of alleged excessive use of force by police.

In April, Aurora fired their police chief while he was being investigated for the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, who was placed in a “chokehold” by an officer and was injected with a powerful sedative.

In an Aurora press release, Acevedo touted himself, stating that the city reminded him of Houston because both are diverse and culturally rich. He said:

“As a bilingual Cuban-American born in Cuba and raised in the United States, I am intimately familiar with the challenges faced by diverse communities like Aurora, and I applaud the city’s simultaneous efforts to combat crime and changes in the community implement public safety to better reflect the people it serves.”

As his time came to an abrupt end in Miami, city manager Art Noriega said at the time that Acevedo’s relationship with the department and community had deteriorated “beyond repair.” He added:

“Relationships between employers and employees come down to fit and leadership style and unfortunately, Chief Acevedo is not the right fit for this organization.”

Acevedo drew scrutiny during his time in Miami for moves like “accidentally” posing for a picture with a leader of the local Proud Boys branch and for the way he managed the police department.

He also reportedly lashed out at the city commissioners in a letter, saying that he would report three of five members to the FBI for alleged interference in the department.

The three commissioners are Cuban American and Acevedo allegedly compared them to Communist Cuba, which sparked severe backlash.

In his termination letter, Noriega accused Acevedo of losing the confidence of rank-and-file officers with behavior like firing employees without following department procedure and threatening discipline against those who did not get COVID-19 vaccinations.

The city of Aurora seems to think they are getting the greatest of all time with hiring Acevedo as interim police chief, as expressed by city spokesman Ryan Luby:

“We would certainly welcome someone of Art Acevedo’s caliber to lead the Aurora Police Department.”

Acevedo faced criticism from the Miami police union for his stance on police ethics and reform.

Prior to being fired, a recent poll of its members said that 79 percent voted that they do not have confidence in Acevedo after orchestrating a series of high-profile firings and suspensions. At the time, Sgt. Tommy Reyes, Miami FOP president, said:

“Our members are just tired, man. Myself included. The lack of fairness, equality, and justice that’s going on in the department is just sad. I feel like a dog being beaten over and over again.”

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