The City of Miami’s Citizens Investigative Panel is launching an investigation into the damage on Police Chief Art Acevedo's city-issued SUV.
NBC 6 obtained the photos that show scratches and other minor damage on Acevedo's unmarked Chevy Tahoe. NBC 6 was told by a police source the bumper was separated in the front of the vehicle.
A complaint filed against Acevedo says the vehicle sustained the damage sometime between Sept. 6 and Sept. 10. It also alleges he should have told the department he got into an accident days before he did.
"No police report was generated to document the damages as required by the City of Miami Departmental Orders," the complaint said.
Tommy Reyes, the police union president, said he took the photos several days after seeing the damage the first time and prior to the Sept. 10 police memo that described the damaged and the investigation into it.
Earlier this year, two top-ranking Miami police officers — Commander Nerly Papier and her husband Deputy Chief Ronald Papier — were terminated after she got into an accident and the department determined rules were broken in the way the aftermath was handled.
"It appears to be pretty hypocritical that we had someone who was fired not too long ago for the same type of incident — who was fired for not reporting I would say a minor crash — was fired, and now it appears the chief has committed the same infraction," Reyes said.
Acevedo told NBC 6 through his spokesperson that he welcomes the investigation and called the allegations baseless. He says the complaint is all an attempt to hinder his efforts to reform and improve the department.
But the Citizens Complaint, which was done anonymously, alleges the timeline of the damage and the reporting of it is “clearly an attempt to cover up the damages and how Chief Acevedo’s vehicle was damaged."
Reyes said all this is just reflective of the trouble in the department.
“The members have made it pretty clear. The morale sucks right now. They are not happy. Cops don’t want to come to work," Reyes said. "They are afraid to do their job and I did an internal survey and the survey was actually pretty shocking for me. The numbers were pretty high. I don’t think the members want to work for Art Acevedo anymore."
Acevedo was unavailable at the time of publication. NBC 6 also reached out to City Manager Art Noreiga, who will receive this report once the CIP is done with its investigation. Noreiga did not respond to requests for comment as of yet.
“Although I have personally reviewed the facts surrounding Chief Acevedo’s unmarked vehicle incident, I welcome the investigation the Civilian Investigative Panel has initiated," Miami City Manager Art Noreiga said. "It is very unfortunate however that yet again this seems to be another attempt by the Fraternal Order of Police to baselessly undermine our Police Chief.”