A former Florida police chief was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for framing innocent Black people to boost crime-solving statistics in his department, according to HuffPost.
A federal judge sentenced Raimundo Atesiano, 53, for conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights. Atesiano had served as the head of Miami-Dade County’s Biscayne Park Police Department.
“When I took the job, I was not prepared,” he told U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore on Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported. “I made some very, very bad decisions.”
Moore allowed Atesiano two weeks before reporting to prison to care for his mother, who is dying of leukemia, according to the Herald.
Atesiano pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in September after he charged three suspects with a legal basis. He faced up to 10 years in prison.
Three former Biscayne police officers, Guillermo Ravelo, Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez, were sentenced in October for their roles after pleading guilty to civil rights violations.
According to prosecutors, the officers, under orders from Atesiano, falsely arrested and charged two Black men and a Black teenage boy with unsolved burglaries. The charges for the boy, 16, were dropped because the language on arrest affidavits was vague, per the Herald.
“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,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told HuffPost in a statement. “Miami-Dade’s residents deserve honesty and integrity, qualities that Raimundo Atesiano deliberately failed to deliver.”
Ravelo was sentenced to 27 months while Fernandez and Davoub were both sentenced to a year in prison. All three worked with the FBI and state prosecutors to reduce their sentences.
One victim has filed a federal lawsuit that accuses Biscayne Park and the former law enforcement officials of violating his civil rights. He spent five years in prison for burglaries he was falsely accused of committing, per HuffPost.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.