Ex-Florida Police Chief Admits To Framing Innocent Black Men

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Written by Ann Brown

“There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality,” former NFL player turned activist Colin Kaepernick said.

The reasoning behind his kneeling during the National Anthem came to light even more recently when an ex-police chief in Florida admitted to framing innocent Black men including a 16-year-old.

Raimundo Atesiano, a former police chief in Biscayne Park, Florida, admitted to directing police officers to frame innocent men in cases of unsolved burglaries and break-ins to benefit his department’s crimes record, Democracy Now reported. The former police chief pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge of depriving three innocent Black men of their civil rights by framing them.

Atesiano reached a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and will face sentencing in November. He is known to have boasted about the department’s “100 percent” success rate.

Atesiano, 52, pleaded guilty in Miami federal court to “directing three of his officers to frame two innocent young Black men and one innocent 16-year-old boy of unsolved home and vehicle break-ins in order to boost and perfect the force’s property crimes record,” Essence reported.

Three former Biscayne Park police officers who worked under Atesiano while he was the chief in 2013 and 2014 pleaded guilty to civil rights violations stemming from the false arrests of the three suspects. All three ex-cops cooperated with the FBI and federal prosecutors in the hope of reducing their prison time, putting pressure on Atesiano to cut his own deal rather than face a jury trial, the Miami Herald reported.

Officers Charlie Dayoub, 38, and Raul Fernandez, 62, pleaded guilty that they falsified the arrest affidavits for a 16-year-old Back suspect for four unsolved break-ins in June 2013. They said that Atesiano told them to unlawfully arrest T.D. even though there was no evidence of his guilt. A third Biscayne Park police officer, Guillermo Ravelo, admitted falsifying arrest warrants for two men at Atesiano’s behest during 2013 and 2014. Those men were in their 30s at the time.

“In January 2013, Atesiano ordered Dayoub and Ravelo to arrest Clarence Desrouleaux on charges of breaking into a pair of homes in Biscayne Park, according to a factual statement filed with the ex-chief’s plea agreement. Atesiano told the officers to take Desrouleaux into custody because ‘there was reliable information that (he) had forged and cashed a check stolen during the course of’ a third home burglary, according to the statement,” the Miami Herald reported.

Later, Atesiano directed the officers to make the arrests for the two additional burglaries although there was no evidence Desrouleaux committed the burglaries. Desrouleaux, 35, was sentenced to five years in prison and deported to Haiti. Now, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has thrown out his wrongful conviction.

Also, in February 2014, Atesiano told Ravelo that he wanted him to arrest Erasmus Banmah, 31, for five unsolved vehicle burglaries, despite knowing there was no evidence that he had committed the crimes, prosecutors said in court records. A couple of days later, Ravelo filled out five arrest forms falsely accusing Banmah of the vehicle burglaries at five different street locations in Biscayne Park, the Miami Herald reported.

Atesiano resigned from the police force in 2014. He could get up to 10 years in prison, although per the plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to recommend two years. The final decision is up to the judge.

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers across the nation serve our communities with honor and integrity,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg said in a statement. “We will not allow the minority of officers who cast aside their oaths to tarnish the reputation of those who protect us all.”