Art Acevedo, the fired chief of Miami’s police force, will become the latest interim leader of the Colorado city police force. Paramedics and officers are being investigated in the 2019 death of a Black man.
Aurora, a diverse, sprawling city east of Denver, announced Tuesday Acevedo had offered to be the second interim chief of police while the search continues for a permanent one.
Acevedo, who had previously led departments in Austin and Houston was appointed last year to be Miami’s chief of police. Acevedo was hailed by the mayor of Miami as the Tom Brady and Michael Jordan of police chiefs. Acevedo, however, caused controversy when he took over the internal affairs unit which investigates misconduct in police officers and made significant changes to his command team.
After six months of service, he was fired.
Acevedo sued later, claiming that his firing was in retaliation to speaking out against corruption as well as reporting abuses by elected officials.
Aurora fired its police chief in April. It was being investigated for the murder of Elijah McClain (23), who was placed in a chokehold and administered a strong sedative. The incident that led to the death caused national outrage during 2020 racial injustice protests.
Acevedo stated that the city reminds him of Houston in a press release by Aurora. Both cities are multicultural and rich.
He said, “As a Cuban American bilingual born in Cuba, but raised in the U.S.A., I am intimately acquainted with the challenges faced by diverse communities like Aurora. I applaud the city for its simultaneous efforts to tackle criminality and implement safety improvements to better reflect the people it serves.”
In 2020, Vanessa Wilson was appointed as the previous chief of police. Her lawyers claim she was the victim in a conspiracy to blame the city and council members for the long-standing problems in Aurora’s police force.
Aurora and Phil Weiser signed an agreement last year to address a pattern in racially biased police work and excessive force. Wilson also quickly reacted to misconduct allegations against officers, including those who shared photos that appeared to mock McClain’s death.
After Wilson’s resignation, Aurora’s ex-police chief Dan Oates stepped in to take over as interim chief. Jim Twombly, the Aurora city manager, stated that Oates’ time with the department was short and that Oates would soon return to Florida to be with his family once Acevedo has transitioned in December. Oates thanked him for his service, and he praised Acevedo.
“Chief Acevedo is a national fixture in law enforcement for many years. He has spoken out about the need and the measured improvement in public safety in this country. Twombly stated that Acevedo reached out to them and was eager to help with the ongoing public safety reforms he had been implementing.