During a press conference held Tuesday afternoon, the mayor made it clear that he backs City Manager Art Noriega’s decision to suspend Acevedo with intent for termination.
“I think, unfortunately, you want these situations always to work out, and they obviously haven’t under the structure of government that we have,” said Suarez.
The mayor expanded on his comments to 7News later in the day.
“It’s a situation where, for the betterment of the city, and for the betterment of him and his family, we don’t want to just drag this out any longer than necessary,” he said.
Acevedo’s short tenure was embroiled with controversy.
In a statement issued Monday evening, Noriega announced he had suspended Acevedo. He outlined eight reasons why the police chief was on his way out, including a loss of confidence and trust of the rank and file, as well as offending the community after saying in an eight-page memo that Miami was run by the “Cuban mafia.”
Acevedo later apologized for the “Cuban mafia” comment.
Noriega said Acevedo had also failed to report damage to his city vehicle. Pictures taken earlier this year showed the damage before administrators were aware.
“He was hired with a high level of expectation, and unfortunately, not every hire works to your satisfaction,” said Suarez.
Acevedo was criticized after he fired Miami Police Cmdr. Nerly Papier and her husband, Deputy Chief Ronald Papier, for covering up an accident where Nerly blew out her tires and almost hit two pedestrians along a downtown Miami street back in April.
Acevedo initially received praise after he was plucked by Suarez from Houston and brought to the Magic City, but after only a few months, some city commissioners had an axe to grind with the police chief, especially after he put out his memo, where he accused them of interference in police matters.
Commissioners also raised questions into how the chief was selected and hired.
“There has been all this controversy, and I think that for the good of the city, this had to happen,” said Commissioner Manolo Reyes.
“Sometimes you do things, and you think it’s the best thing to do at the time, and it winds up being, in hindsight, one should have done something different,” said Commissioner Jeffrey Watson. “I don’t think it takes anything away from the chief.”
Acevedo sent a farewell message to the police department on Monday. It reads in part, “I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your service and for your warmth and spirit. I urge you all to keep driving forward and to give the people of Miami the best service possible.”
Miami Police Assistant Chief Manny Morales will serve as interim chief while the search for a new chief begins.
“I’ve spoken to the interim chief. I’ve spoken to community members as well. They seem to be satisfied as well,” said Suarez.
Commissioners will have a final say on Acevedo. Termination proceedings are set to begin Thursday afternoon and are expected to last several days.
Acevedo will have a chance to defend himseld during this hearing.
“I’m going to be as fair as I can to Mr. Acevedo, to present his defense to us,” said Commissioner Joe Carollo. “I’m not going to do to him what he has done to some of our senior and not senior officers when he’s fired them, when he’s demoted them, that he hasn’t given them any opportunity to plead their case.”
As for the chief’s exit, if he is fired without cause, the city would owe him about five months’ salary, which equals roughly $130,000.
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