Interim Miami police chief gets job after controversial pick

Feb 28, 2022, 2:58 PM | Updated: 3:58 pm

MIAMI (AP) — After filling in on an interim basis following the firing of the embattled former police chief of Miami, a long-time member of the law enforcement agency was named its head Monday.

Manuel Morales was picked as chief of the Miami Police Department, four months after he was named to the position on an interim basis. Morales has been with the police department since 1994.

“After further evaluating Chief Morales’ performance during the first 100 days, I am extremely confident that he is eminently qualified, respected and admired by many and will continue to do a great job as chief for the police department,” Miami City Manager Art Noriega said in a news release. “Furthermore, this decision will ensure stability at the leadership level of the city’s police department.”

Morales’ predecessor, Art Acevedo, was fired in October after only six months on the job. He had been recruited by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who had hailed him as “America’s best chief.”

Acevedo was seen as a progressive law enforcer in his previous job leading the police department in Houston, and he shared ancestry with hundreds of thousands Cubans in Miami as a Havana-born refugee.

But Acevedo began making waves almost immediately after he was sworn in in April by taking over internal affairs and making significant changes to his command staff. At two raucous meetings, commissioners attacked Acevedo and his leadership, appointing themselves to an investigative committee with subpoena power to examine his appointment.

Earlier this year, Acevedo filed a lawsuit claiming his firing was in retaliation for him speaking out against corruption.

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Interim Miami police chief gets job after controversial pick