COCONUT GROVE, FLA. (WSVN) - - City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez went on camera for the first time since the controversy began around the city’s police chief.
Suarez defended the hiring of Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo when he was sworn in, April 5.
“Our manager, with the help of a commission and with my intervention, brought to Miami the best chief in America,” Suarez said.
But in recent weeks, Acevedo has been at the center of a controversy since he made claims against some commissioners for interfering with police investigations.
Speaking with 7News on Wednesday, the mayor maintained a more reserved tone and did not refer directly to Acevedo.
When asked whether he has confidence in his police chief, Suarez replied, “I have confidence in my city manager … to manage the situation.”
Suarez backed City Manager Arthur Noriega amid recent blunders playing out at Miami City Hall meetings between some commissioners and the police chief.
“I have full faith and confidence in my city manager’s ability to manage the situation in the way that’s best for the public safety of my residents and for a collegial environment in our city,” Suarez said.
He also addressed Acevedo’s plan of action report, which was turned in on Monday.
“That action report is exactly what we need to do in the City of Miami,” he said. “We need to reduce gun violence.”
“I don’t know if he can achieve it or not. I really hope so,” said Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes.
The action plan addressed policing, managing morale, public relations and the strained relationship between the chief and some commissioners.
“It’s for the city manager to accept it or not, you see, because the one who has the last word is the city manager,” said Reyes.
Noriega said he will not comment on the report. He said in a statement, “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.”
In the report, Acevedo detailed how he plans to make his relationships with elected officials better.
In the report, the police chief wrote, “I probably moved too quickly to affect change and engage publicly … I have since adjusted my approach and will continue to do so.”
Acevedo said he will meet with each member of the commission individually to find common ground and identify areas for which there is room for improvement.
A chief advisory committee, made up of 10 sworn and civilian employees from different units and divisions, will also be created.
In the community, there will be a strong focus on lowering gun violence in five specific neighborhoods.
The goal is to reduce gun violence by 2% in 30 days, 5% in 60 days and 7% in 90 days.
However, some city officials said they have to see words on a plan.
When asked whether or not it’s possible for Acevedo to fix his relationship with him, Reyes replied, “Actions, If the city manager decides to keep him, because that’s his call, I need actions.”
Wednesday night, an article published by The Miami Herald cited sources as saying there are some staff members putting together an exit plan for Acevedo. However, other sources told Herald reporters that no decision has been made yet.
Miami commissioners are set to meet next week. Acevedo’s action plan is expected to be among the topics of discussion.
To read the chief’s action plan, click here.
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