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Miami police chief fired after feud with mayor

MIAMI (Reuters) - Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito was fired on Monday when city commissioners upheld the chief's suspension following his bruising public feud with Mayor Tomas Regalado, which lasted over a year.

The commission voted 3-2 to oust Exposito after an acrimonious City Hall meeting that began on Friday and stretched into early Saturday before a deciding vote on Monday, following a Sunday pause.

Exposito had been suspended last week by City Manager Johnny Martinez, who accused the police chief of disobeying orders to slash overtime payments and because of disagreement over some of his recent personnel moves.

But the backdrop to the firing was months of bitter public bickering with Mayor Regalado.

Exposito was appointed in 2009 with Regalado's support but he drew fire from the mayor after accusing him of interfering with police raids against video gaming machines in stores and cafes across the city.

The chief has also faced criticism over a series of fatal police shootings of seven African-American suspects.

In a statement issued on Monday, Regalado welcomed the commission's decision to support Exposito's firing.

"This has been a painful process for the City, but at the same time has demonstrated that our city demands that its employees respect their superiors and follow the Charter," he said.

Among other actions that embroiled him in controversy, Exposito had angered local officials by allowing some of his officers to participate in the pilot for a reality TV show. In the show, the officers described themselves as "hunters" in search of suspects in Miami's toughest neighborhoods.

(Reporting by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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