According to the Miami Herald, U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore sentenced ex-Biscayne Park police chief Raimundo Atesiano on Tuesday for “conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights.” “When I took the job, I was not prepared,” Atesiano, who resigned back in 2014, told the judge. “I made some very, very bad decisions.”
Atesiano orchestrated these false arrests in order to boost his department’s crime statistics. “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,” said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in a statement. “Miami-Dade’s residents deserve honesty and integrity, qualities that Raimundo Atesiano deliberately failed to deliver.”
The crimes falsely tied to black locals were burglaries and break-ins. Two officers pleaded guilty back in August for falsifying the arrest affidavits of one 16-year-old black teen for a series of four break-ins. Both men are serving a year in prison. Another officer admitted to falsifying arrest warrants for two other black men in 2013 and 2014, under the direction of Atesiano. He was sentenced to 27 months behind bars.
One of the victims of these false arrests served five years in prison for burglaries he did not commit, according to HuffPost. His case was later tossed out, and he’s currently in the process of suing the town and officers for violating his civil rights.
“He fabricated evidence. He damaged lives. Even before he was chief, Atesiano issued 2,200 traffic tickets himself in one year, fabricated cases, and wrongfully arrested innocent individuals,” public defender Carlos Martinez told the Herald. “He created a culture of corruption that has further eroded public trust in the criminal justice system. Just as appalling is the damage Atesiano has done to law-abiding, hard-working, police officers and chiefs.”