In an attempt to falsely report a 100 percent clearance rate for burglaries, a former police chief and two former patrol officers from Florida allegedly conspired to frame a 16-year-old for four unsolved local burglaries. On Monday, federal prosecutors charged them with conspiracy to violate the juvenile’s civil rights under color of law and deprivation of his civil rights.
On June 13, 2013, then-Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano ordered Officers Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez to falsely arrest a 16-year-old juvenile, identified only as “T.D.,” in order to claim a perfect record closing burglary cases, according to the recent indictment. Under Atesiano’s orders, Dayoub and Fernandez completed four arrest affidavits for the burglaries and included a false narrative that an investigation revealed T.D. had burglarized four unoccupied dwellings.
Less than a month later, Atesiano announced at a meeting of the City Council for The Village of Biscayne Park that his department had a 100 percent clearance rate for burglaries. The indictment reads, “The existence of this fictitious 100% clearance rate of reported burglaries was used by Atesiano to gain favor with elected officials and concerned citizens.”
In early 2014, Atesiano abruptly resigned after borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a subordinate and issuing a written promise to repay the money through a combination of taxpayer-funded overtime and off-duty work. On Monday, Atesiano, Dayoub, and Fernandez were charged with conspiracy to violate T.D.’s civil rights under color of law and deprivation of his civil rights under color of law. If convicted, they each face a maximum statutory sentence of 11 years in federal prison.
“That’s not the way things are done in Biscayne Park,” stated Biscayne Park’s village manager, Krishan Manners. “This was five years ago. We have a different manager and a different police chief.”
In April, former Biscayne Park cop Guillermo Ravelo was charged with assaulting two people while on duty and falsifying the police reports. Five years earlier, Ravelo allegedly punched a driver during a traffic stop and struck another person with a blunt object during another incident.
Last year, Nicholas Wollschlager was named interim chief while under investigation during the Atesiano loan scandal. Although Wollschlager was cleared of criminal charges, he abruptly resigned from the department a few months ago without explanation.