MIAMI, FL- The mayor of Miami apparently has no sense of humor. Mayor Francis Suarez came out upset and angry about mobile billboards driving around the city which are taking potshots at Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo, whose term in that position has proven interesting to say the least since he arrived in the city earlier this year, Miami Watch wrote on Substack.
In an email sent from his personal account, Suarez described the billboards as “pathetic.”
“This is beyond any bounds of decency and pathetic,” Suarez wailed in the message.
On Monday, there was a rather contentious city commission meeting where Suarez was quite noticeably not in attendance. Perhaps it was because it was Suarez who recommended Acevedo’s hiring in the first place, describing him as “the Michael Jordan” of police chiefs.
Conversely, Suarez was known as “the Lebron James of self-promotion” when he served in Houston, Texas, a diva who was always seeking media attention.
Since Acevedo’s arrival in South Beach, he has been involved in one high-profile situation after another. Suarez bears much of the responsibility for what is occurring because it was he who actively recruited Acevedo and in doing so bypassed a selection process that was already in progress.
He has offered no comment about the adventures of Acevedo as incidents continue to pile up.
Suarez’s absence from the commission meeting was duly noted by the editorial board of the Miami Herald, who was curious about his absence.
They noted that the meeting started out as a “legitimate evaluation of Acevedo’s behavior,” noting a series of “missteps, blunders and gaffes, which included “ticking off Commissioner Joe Carollo.”
The Herald noted that Suarez “owns all of this,” having skirted the selection process for a chief of police that was well under way, likening the media magnet Acevedo as something of a rock star.
When asked about Suarez’s absence from the commission meeting, a spokesman for Suarez told the Editorial Board that he was indeed in the building and was “monitoring” the meeting, also noting that his attendance at the meeting was not necessary.
“Miami’s mayor owns all of this,” the Editorial Board wrote.
So what did the commission meeting entail? Basically the aforementioned “ticked off” commissioner Carollo with an entire detailed background of Acevedo with details about Acevedo’s law enforcement career, courtesy of a page called “Meet Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo.”
All of the below indictments of Acevedo’s career from his time as a California Highway Patrol officer through Austin, Houston and now Miami are outlined on the series of mobile billboards traveling throughout Miami. Carollo used those as a basis for his reasoning for questioning Acevedo’s hiring in the first place.
What are some of Acevedo’s highlights over his “illustrious” career?
Took sexually explicit photos of a woman who later sued him for sexual harassment:
As an officer with the California Highway Patrol, Acevedo was sued in federal court for $5 million by a woman with whom he had a months-long affair with a woman after he allegedly kept sexually explicit Polaroid photographs in the glove box of his state-issued car and showed them to law enforcement friends.
Acevedo admitted having the photos and said a colleague in the CHP “accidentally” saw the photos. A confidential settlement was reached.
Was sued by three sexual assault survivors in Austin and Travis County, Texas for “denying female victims of sexual assault…their right to ‘equal access to justice and equal protection of the law.’
This came about with Acevedo “have instead disbelieved, dismissed and denigrated female victims of sexual assault, failed to have DNA evidence tested for years at a time and refused to investigate or prosecute cases of sexual assault.”
Among accusations were that Acevedo allowed “a massive backlog of untested rape kids” to pile up during his tenure as chief of the Austin (TX) Police Department, permitted the posting of “a wall in [the department’s] sexual assault unit on which numerous pictures of female victims were posted—each one representing a ‘false report’ that officers had unilaterally determined had no merit.
He was also accused of permitting a toxic culture whereby allegations of sexual assault between officers on the Austin PD were blown off as “bad sex” or “something the female officer just regretted after the fact, despite evidence demonstrating injury to the female officer.”
Couldn’t be bothered to arrest people who committed sexual assaults
In Acevedo’s final year as chief in Austin, out of 747 reported rapes that year, the department only made 132 arrests, with the department claiming it “cleared” an additional 256 cases in what they called “exceptional” clearances.
According to a leading expert on police investigations of sexual assault cases, he told ProPublica that classifying rape cases in that way was “misleading at best and duplicitous at worst.”
In addition, the sergeant who supervised the Sex Crimes Unit at the time said she felt pressure from the department’s leadership to “clear” more cases using the “exceptional circumstances” designation.
Officers who were recorded telling a woman as she walked by, “Go ahead and call the cops. They can’t unrape you.”
Acevedo gave the two officers a mere slap on the wrist, and they were retained as Austin police officers. Under a year later, one of the same two officers was caught on camera belittling a handicapped homeless woman in a wheelchair.
Acevedo called the officer’s conduct “rude” and “unprofessional,” but the officer went unpunished.
Acevedo was repeatedly reprimanded by the City of Austin during his tenure
In 2011, Acevedo was tagged with “operational and judgment concerns” from the city manager and instructed, “I expect you to exercise proper judgment.
In 2013, he was once again reprimanded for threatening to launch a baseless internal affairs investigation after which his conduct was called “inappropriate and unacceptable” from the City Attorney’s office and directed “to apologize…in person and in writing.”
Finally, in 2016 Acevedo was docked five days of pay for inappropriate public comments after the killing of an unarmed teenager by an Austin police officer. The city manager again excoriated Acevedo, writing that “this matter again concerns me with your lack of judgment” and “your failure to follow my directives in this matter.”
Acevedo was accused of “the offense of insubordination “ against the city manager and was threatened with “additional personnel action up to and including termination.”
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Acevedo was then rewarded for those transgressions with the chief’s job in Houston, where things didn’t go much better.
Murders went virtually unsolved during Acevedo’s tenure in Houston
In 2011, the Houston PD solved roughly 89% of murders in the city. An investigative report conducted by the Houston Chronicle last year found the murder solve rate had dropped to 49%, a precipitous decline.
The solve rate dropped every year that Acevedo served as police chief; internal audits showed that Acevedo’s staff blamed him for policy decisions that reduced the overall number of homicide detectives.
A botched drug raid in Houston left two people and a dog dead, shot by Houston police officers
Acevedo claimed in the immediate aftermath that the narcotics squad “heroically made entry” and that he was “really proud of them,’ however a Washington Post investigation showed discrepancies between Acevedo’s version of events and video evidence provided by neighbors and independent investigators.
In fact, gunshots can be heard outside the home some 30 minutes after Acevedo claimed the raid had ended. Despite evidence to the contrary, Acevedo continued to praise the officers who were involved as “heroes,” and even described the officers as “victims.”
Meanwhile, the Miami lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police has mailed a survey to its members in order to gauge support for Acevedo. This is seen as a vote of no confidence in his leadership. Things do not bode well for him.
According to CBS Miami, FOP President Tommy Reyes says he doesn’t have the backing of his officers.
“People demoted for no reason, a captain was rolled back to lieutenant for no reason at all and discipline has been handed out like he was giving out Halloween candy,” Reyes said.
“I hear mafia and I think, criminal enterprise. I think somebody is selling drugs or money laundering or I do not know of any of that going on.”
Reyes was referring to a comment made by Acevedo a couple of weeks back, in which he said that Miami “is run by the Cuban mafia,” a derogatory term which raised the ire of many in the community, including on the city commission.
Reyes also criticized the process under which Acevedo was hired, telling CBS Miami that he wasn’t happy with how the process came about, how Acevedo was hired, and how he basically jumped ahead of other candidates who had been fully vetted. He said he would like to see the process for selecting a chief changed in the future.
Oh, and Acevedo apparently owns a $1.75 million home in a very white neighborhood in Miami.
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