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That wasn’t a meeting to assess Miami’s police chief. That was a character assassination | Editorial

·3 min read

The highly anticipated Miami Commission meeting to address, and dress down, Police Chief Art Acevedo Monday was an unmitigated public embarrassment. It was unworthy of those calling themselves elected officials and an absolute insult to Miamians, on whose behalf this all took place.

Yes, Acevedo has said some things and done some things in his brief tenure in Miami that were ill-considered or offensive. Yes, Monday’s special meeting called by Commissioner Joe Carollo was a chance to clear the air and direct Acevedo’s focus back to law enforcement, instead of, say, Gov. DeSantis’ mishandling of the COVID pandemic.

But Carollo doesn’t do statesman. Never has. Instead, he reached back into Acevedo’s time as Houston police chief, droning on and on about supposed misdeeds, stooping so low as to besmirch Acevedo for his participation in a fundraiser, in which he performed the cha-cha in a tight costume.

Character assassination ran rampant. And, through an eight-page letter detailing alleged misbehavior by commissioners, Acevedo gave as good as he got.

Carollo, and at times Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla, bullied, made fun of — and even ejected — members of the public when it was their turn to speak at the podium.

To be continued

And this pathetic spectacle masquerading as government in action continues at 1 p.m. Friday.

Carollo, again, will be the inquisitor. Monday, he was vintage Carollo, flipping through his privately acquired dossier of Acevedo’s failings at previous law enforcement jobs in Los Angeles, Austin and Houston.

And faulting Miami’s City Manager Art Noriega for not seeing warning signs about Acevedo or detecting that, “He was more a politician than a chief,” Carollo said, because he and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez were so enamored of secretly hiring the nationally known Acevedo, at the time, they forgot to “Google him.”

The chief’s offenses during his short six-month tenure in Miami will be detailed Friday, where the his future in Miami could become clearer. Given the bad blood spilled on Monday, Acevedo’s days as Miami’s police chief could be numbered.

Acevedo, Suarez absent

But what’s also clear is that he won’t go quietly. And he could credibly tie his problems here to his attempts to reform the department and challenge commissioners’ meddling in department business. Possible proof that the rank-and-file prefer the status quo? The majority of 615 officers tallied by their union had no confidence in the chief.

Acevedo was not present at Monday’s meeting. Neither was Suarez, who engineered in secret what some now consider Acevedo’s ill-conceived hiring. Suarez, who is up for reelection in November, was not required to be there, but this was, for all intents and purposes, his trophy hire, one that is at the root of the hot mess on display in the commission chambers.

And Carollo, also up for re-election, is no fool. The more he makes Acevedo look bad, the more he makes Suarez, a political enemy, look bad — while looking bad himself, of course.

But here’s who looks worst of all: the city of Miami. These “leaders” dragged the city’s fragile reputation through the mud.

Miami is always national news. Will businesses looking to relocate think twice?

What kind of leaders are these when their default mode is scorched Earth?

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