Two former patrol officers from Florida pleaded guilty Friday to framing an innocent teenager under orders from their police chief in order to boast a near-perfect clearance rate for burglaries. Last month, a third officer admitted falsifying arrest warrants for two men at the chief’s behest.
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. 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.
In April, former Biscayne Park cop Guillermo Ravelo was charged with assaulting two people while on duty and falsifying the police reports. Last month, Ravelo pleaded guilty in Miami federal court to a conspiracy charge of violating the rights of two falsely accused black men and using excessive force during a 2013 traffic stop by punching a handcuffed man in the face.
On June 11, Atesiano, Dayoub, and Fernandez were charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights under color of law and deprivation of T.D.’s civil rights, under color of law. On Tuesday, Dayoub and Fernandez both pleaded guilty to deprivation of T.D.’s civil rights, under color of law. They both face up to a year in prison with their sentencing date scheduled for October 16.
According to Dayoub, Fernandez, and Ravelo, Atesiano ordered them to falsify arrest reports against innocent black men in order to clear burglary cases during Atesiano’s tenure as chief. Between 2013 and 2014, Atesiano reported clearing 29 of 30 burglary cases, but at least 11 of those cases were based on false arrest reports.
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. The former police chief has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial despite the fact that three of his officers have pleaded guilty to federal charges while pointing their fingers at him.
Miami-Dade prosecutors continue to review criminal cases arrests in Biscayne Park during Atesiano’s tenure between 2013 and 2014 to determine whether anyone else was wrongly convicted.