A homeless Black teen framed by police in Biscayne Park, Fla. as part of a widespread false arrest scandal is now suing the department, The Miami New-Times reported.
Federal prosecutors in June unsealed an indictment accusing former Biscayne Park police chief Raimundo Atestiano of intentionally framing the teen, identified in court documents as “T.D.,” for two burglaries in an effort to fake a perfect crime-solving record. Three officers confessed it was Atestiano who instructed them to pin the crimes on random Black folks.
“… 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,” one officer said in an internal probe launched in 2014. “They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city.”
Now, T.D. is hitting back at Atestiano, the three officers involved in the bogus charges and the Village of Biscayne Park with a federal lawsuit alleging “that the group violated his civil rights and maliciously prosecuted him,” the newspaper reported.
“The defendants were part of a conspiracy to satisfy the Village that crime was being eliminated,” the lawsuit argues.
The federal indictment against Atestiano accused the former police chief of pinning T.D. with four burglaries that occurred between April and May of 2013. The teen was also hit with 22 bogus traffic violations. The goal? Federal prosecutors said Atestiano wanted to prove to the town’s government that he’d solved “every single burglary in town.”
The complaint claims the then-police chief ordered officers to arrest T.D for the burglaries in June 2013, despite the fact that “there was no evidence and no lawful basis to support such charges.” The lawsuit further alleges that officers gathered evidence to build a case against the teen and included a “false narrative” to support their phony claims that T.D. was the one behind the string of burglaries.
As reported by the Miami Herald, prosecutors ultimately dismissed the charges against T.D. after the State Attorney’s office noticed the arrest affidavits all sounded eerily similar to one another.
“All of the charges against plaintiff were resolved in his favor,” the 11-page lawsuit reads. “However, [T.D.] was incarcerated and unable to get a license due to the violation of his civil rights under [the] color of law.”