When former Miami Police Department (MPD) Chief Art Acevedo joked that the “Cuban Mafia” heads his department, city leaders were so offended by the remark – which echoed a term used by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to alienate exiles in South Florida when he was alive – that they quickly and theatrically fired Miami’s top cop.
But five months after the high-profile ouster, one or more unknown people were apparently so inspired by Acevedo’s remark that they immortalized it as a collectible “challenge coin.” Challenge Coins are often used by members of the military and police services to commemorate specific occasions, units and people. Some far-right militant groups, including the Proud Boys, have also create and collect challenge coins.
The map, which was first reported by the anonymous MPD blog, the Moral Heralddepicts three members of the Miami City Commission known as the Three Amigos – Manolo Reyes, Joe Carollo and Alex Diaz de la Portilla – as Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in a parody of the Freedmen movie poster. It features Acevedo’s popular catchphrase, “You Lie, You Die”, a road sign reading “Mafia Way”, and a likeness of Acevedo in an Elvis Presley costume – the latter touch apparently alluding to the strange reunion specials of the city commission in which Carollo agonized over the tightness of Acevedo’s pants as he released an old video of Acevedo dancing at a charity event.
It also portrays Carollo in the lead role, as Robert De Niro’s mafia character, Jimmy Conway.
Although the three Cuban-American commissioners were insulted by Acevedo’s “mafia” insinuation, Carollo seems to have accepted the term. After Acevedo’s dismissal, he played The Godfather theme song during interim leader Manuel Morales’ swearing-in ceremony to mark the moment.
3 months ago @MoralesMiamiPD was sworn in as interim chief hand-picked by the municipal commission as @JoeCarolloNow played the GODFATHER’s music, and he reversed ALL of the ex-chief’s major moves @ArtAcevedo including the rehiring of ALL fired and demoted cops #BecauseMiami https://t.co/xH9A4PxKZT pic.twitter.com/kG5PEzTWTm
— Because Miami (@BecauseMiami) January 13, 2022
A recent screenshot obtained by new times shows that someone with the profile “babypillow20” auctioned off the coin in a bundle on eBay for $51 alongside a second challenge coin inspired by the Grim Reaper’s Death tarot card. This piece, however, features the Miami City Seal and a skeletal hand signaling “OK” with thumb and forefinger touching in a circle a gesture some groups have used to signal “white power”.
The eBay listing is no longer available on the site but the screenshot shows it has received nine offers.
MPD Information Officer Michael Vega says new times that he and Deputy Chief Cherise Gause were unaware of the coins or their origins until told by New times. Gause did not respond to a request for an interview on the parts and the Morales Herald on Tuesday.
The Morales Herald blog appeared shortly after Morales was installed as acting chief following Acevedo’s ousting. The first blog post on January 5 claimed that Morales, who was supposed to be the acting chief until a search could be made, was in fact the permanent chief installed by the commission. Almost two months later, Morales was named chief. The main purpose of the blog has been to denigrate Morales and post unflattering information about him and the MPD.
Morales was out of the office and unavailable to comment on this story.