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‘Pin unsolved burglary cases on black men, let’s boost the arrest records’ -Florida police chief, Raimundo Atesiano, jailed for three years for framing innocent black men for burglaries and vehicle crimes

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Raimundo Atesiano, 53, was sentenced on Tuesday in Miami federal court
The Florida cop was sentenced three years in jail for framing innocent black men for burglaries and vehicle crimes
The former Biscayne Park chief pled guilty to conspiracy in September after a probe revealed he had instructed officers to unlawfully arrest three black men
Atesiano, 53, allegedly instructed officers to pin unsolved burglary cases on black men in order to boost the dept’s arrest records
Prosecutors say he was trying to boost the department’s crime-solving statistics 
Three other officers who worked under Atesiano,  implicated in the case, pled guilty over the summer
Former officers Charlie Dayoub, Raul Fernandez and Guillermo Ravelo are serving between 12 and 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to the string of false and profiled arrest of innocents

At a hearing Tuesday, ex-Biscayne Park chief Raimundo Atesiano claimed that he felt pressured to boost crime statistics in the small village of about 3,000 residents.
‘When I took the job, I was not prepared,’ the 53-year-old told US District Judge K Michael Moore in Miami federal court.
‘I made some very, very bad decisions.’
Three other former officers earlier pled guilty in the case which has tainted Biscayne Park force with allegations of racism in the mostly-white community.
Atesiano pled guilty to a conspiracy charge of depriving three suspects of their civil rights in September. His conviction carried a maximum sentence of 10 years.
All three ex-officers implicated in the case cooperated with the FBI and prosecutors to reduce their prison time.
Atesiano’s lawyer claimed the victims, all three black, were selected because they were known to police as having criminal pasts.

In July an internal department probe revealed Atesiano, who resigned in 2014 when the probe began, and other high-ranking officers had pressured cops to make unwarranted arrests so that the department’s crime stats would appear flawless, according to records obtained by the Miami Herald.
At least four officers, who make up one-third of the small force, claimed that they were instructed to file false charges.
Speaking with an outside investigator in 2014, officer Anthony De La Torre said he’d been told: ‘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.’
He added: ‘They were basically doing this to have a 100 percent clearance rate for the city.’
De La Torre was the only one of the four who said he was told to target black people.

The probe was called for by a former village manager who’d received letter from concerned cops.
‘The letters said police were doing a lot of bad things,’ Heidi Shafran told the Herald.
‘It said police officers were directed to pick up people of color and blame the crimes on them.’
In one of the letters officer Omar Martinez wrote: ‘I will not arrest an innocent person to make the department look good.’
In June, Atesiano and former officers Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez were charged with framing a 16-year-old, ‘T.D.’, in four 2013 burglaries to improve arrest statistics.
The indictment from the US Attorney’s office claimed Atesiano ’caused and encouraged officers to knowingly arrest T.D. without a legitimate basis in order to maintain a fictitious 100 percent clearance rate of reported burglaries’.
‘Atesiano, Dayoub and Fernandez knew there was no evidence and no lawful basis to arrest and charge T.D. with those crimes,’ it said.
Dayoub and Fernandez pled guilty in August and were sentenced to a year in prison each.
A third officer, Guillermo Ravelo, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deprive a person of his civil rights and deprivation of civil rights under color of law in July.
Ravelo was accused of falsely arrested 35-year-old Clarens Desrouleaux in January 2013 for two residential burglaries, claiming at the time that he had confessed to the crime.
He also allegedly falsely arrested 31-year-old Erasmus Banmah for five vehicle burglaries despite knowing there was no evidence that connected him to the crimes.
Ravelo falsely claimed in paperwork that Banmah had taken him to the site and confessed to the items that he stole.
The charges against both Desrouleaux and Banmah were later dropped, and Ravelo was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

He resigned in 2014 and the following year the department’s success rate dropped dramatically, with zero out of 19 burglaries solved in 2015.
Community leaders claim they’ve reformed the department since Atesiano’s departure.
Atesiano will remain free for two weeks so he can care for his mother, who is dying of leukemia, before he surrenders.

 

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