Last week a Miami judge sentenced the ex-police chief of Biscayne Park, Florida, for the crime of pinning unsolved crimes on innocent Black people.
Raimundo Atesiano, 52, was handed three years in prison on Tuesday, Nov. 26, for conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights. Atesiano had been facing a maximum 10-year sentence. Officers Guillermo Ravelo, Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez all pleaded guilty and cooperated in the case against Atesiano for falsely arresting three Black men without any evidence or probable cause in an effort to clear all reported burglaries in the area.
Atesiano’s scheme centered on his department’s crime-solving rate. He touted his unit’s 100 percent clearance rate for burglaries. The targets selected by the former police chief were known to have criminal backgrounds and weren’t randomly chosen, Atesiano’s attorney claimed.
In 2013, Atesiano instructed cops to arrest a 16-year-old “knowing that there was no evidence and no lawful basis to support such charges.” The teen was charged with four unsolved burglaries committed at homes in the area. The following year, the former police chief hit another victim with burglary charges without any legal standing, according to the Justice Department.
The Miami Herald reported that Biscayne Park officers said Atesiano wanted unsolved crimes pinned on Black people. “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,” a police officer said in an internal probe ordered in 2014, according to the newspaper.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told CNN News on Nov. 28, “Putting an arrest statistic above the rights of an innocent man instead of working to protect all our citizens undermines the safety goals of every Miami-Dade police department. … Miami-Dade’s residents deserve honesty and integrity, qualities that Raimundo Atesiano deliberately failed to deliver.”
Dayoub and Fernandez who pleaded guilty in the case were each sentenced to one year in prison in November while the third got 27 months behind bars.
Atesiano abruptly resigned from his position in 2014 after an investigation was launched.