A former Florida police chief has been accused of pressuring officers in his county to frame Black offenders for unrelated crimes to maintain perfect crime stats, the Miami Herald reports.
Former Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano and two officers, Raul Fernandez and Charlie Dayoub, have been charged with falsely accusing a Black teenager — identified as T.D. — with burglaries, the publication found.
“Atesiano directed Dayoub and Fernandez to arrest T.D. on June 13, 2013, and falsely charge him with unsolved burglaries knowing that there was no evidence and no lawful basis to support such charges,” the Department of Justice announced in a news release. “The indictment further alleges that following Atesiano’s instruction, Dayoub and Fernandez gathered information for four unsolved burglary cases, completed four arrest affidavits for the burglaries, and included a false narrative that an investigation revealed that T.D. had committed the four burglaries of unoccupied dwellings.”
The charges were part of a history of targeting random Black people to achieve a perfect crime-solving record before an internal investigation in 2014. Records showed that high-ranking officers in the department pressured some cops to make these unwarranted arrests.
“‘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,’” Officer Anthony De La Torre said he was told. “They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city.”
During police chief Atesiano’s two years in charge, 29 of 30 burglary cases were considered solved. But the following year in 2015, that success rate dropped to zero of 19 burglary incidents solved, the NY Post reports.
A trial for Atesiano, Fernandez, and Dayoub has been set for July 23, but is expected to be postponed, according to the newspaper. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison.