A disgraced Florida police chief pleaded guilty to charges related to framing several innocent black men.
Ex-Biscayne Park police chief Raimundo Atesiano pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the men’s civil rights as part of a plea deal, according to The Miami Herald. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. However, Atesiano is expected to serve no more than two-and-a-half years behind bars. Two other conspiracy charges were dropped as part of the ex-cop's plea deal.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg criticized Atesiano’s actions in a statement.
“The vast majority of law enforcement officers across the nation serve our communities with honor and integrity,” Greenberg said. “We will not allow the minority of officers who cast aside their oaths to tarnish the reputation of those who protect us all.”
“The right to be free from false arrests is fundamental to our Constitution and system of justice,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said, according to The Miami New Times. “Law enforcement officers who abuse their authority and deny any individual this right will be held accountable. As the chief of police, Defendant Atesiano was trusted by his community to lead their police officers by example; he has failed his community and the officers of Biscayne Park.”
Atesiano and three of his former deputies found themselves on the other side of the law after police records from a string of robberies aroused suspicion.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office noticed similarities between four affidavits written by former officer Charlie Dayoub and signed by fellow officer Raul Fernandez. Both officers had been instructed to arrest and pin false robbery charges on a 16-year-old boy, known as T.D. The office’s observation resulted in the charges being dropped. Another shady arrest by Dayoub and Fernandez caused resident Clarence Desrouleaux to receive a five-year prison sentence and deportation to his native Haiti. Both officers pleaded guilty to falsifying arrest records in July.
A third officer, Guillermo Ravelo, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge related to the arrests of two other men. Atesiano instructed the officers to conduct the arrests to maintain the force’s perfect robbery clearance rate.
The cooperation of these three officers put pressure on Atesiano to cut a deal rather than face a jury.
Since the scandal, the Biscayne Park Police Department has received an complete overhaul, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
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