A week after being fired as Miami Police Chief, Art Acevedo,
who had the same job in Houston before bolting for South Florida, spoke out for
the first time.
Acevedo, speaking exclusively to NBC News, called getting
fired just six months after accepting the job a "pretty embarrassing
episode in a 35-year career."
Acevedo clashed with the police union almost immediately
after starting his job in April by making several changes to his command staff,
including demoting four majors and firing two high-level officers. In
September, reports came out that Acevedo made an off-the-cuff remark about the
police force being run by the "Cuban mafia." Acevedo, who is Cuban
himself, later apologized, saying he didn't know the late Cuban dictator Fidel
Castro used the term to derogatorily refer to Cuban exiles in Miami.
Acevedo told NBC News he regretted making the comment,
"because it was used for political gain by some, but also I do believe
that to members of the exile community, and I'm part of that exile community,
that it was hurtful to them."
As for his biggest regret, Acevedo said it was "not
doing my homework before agreeing (to take the job)."
He later became emotional in the interview when he talked
about his parents coming to this country from Cuba and what his next move might
"I'm not a quitter," Acevedo said with his voice
cracking. "My mom and dad didn't come here for us to be quitters, and I
don't plan on quitting on being a voice for this profession and being a voice for
the good police officers in this country, and a voice for those that are
disenfranchised by bad police officers, and we'll see how I end up being able
to serve, moving forward."