A former Florida police chief allegedly ordered some of his officers to frame random black people to boost the department’s arrest stats, according to an internal probe.
Federal records filed in court last month and obtained by the Miami Herald reveal some of the corrupt practices of the former Biscayne Park police chief Raimundo Atesiano and some of his officers. The charges include framing a black teenager with multiple crimes he did not commit.
The report says that Atesiano instructed some of his officers to frame random black people who happen to be on the street and frame them if they have any sort of police record.
The internal probe includes former police officer Anthony De La Torre’s account of the police practices in the Miami-Dade village.
“If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved yet, if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries. They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city.”
A third of the police force in the small village revealed to an investigator that they were ordered to file false police charges. While De La Torre was the only officer to mention that blacks were targeted, former Biscayne Park village manager Heidi Shafran, who ordered the investigation, received several letters from police officers stating that they were also instructed to frame minorities.
“The letters said police were doing a lot of bad things. It said police officers were directed to pick up people of color and blame the crimes on them.”
Some of the letters revealed that some police officers felt uncomfortable with the racially charged orders and refused to carry them out on ethical grounds.
Raimundo Atesiano resigned during the probe, which began four years ago. After Atesiano left, the number of unsolved cases rose dramatically.
The former police chief, along with two of his officers, were charged with civil rights violations. The indictment charges the police officers with conspiring to frame a 16-year-old black Haitian-American with four unsolved burglaries.
Atesiano and the two officers charged — Raul Fernandez and Charlie Dayoub have pleaded not guilty. Miami Herald reports that Fernandez and Dayoub are making a deal with federal prosecutors against the former police chief.
All charges against the then-teenager, who is now 21, has been dropped by prosecutors. Raimundo Atesiano and the two officers charged face a maximum sentence of 11 years if convicted.