Florida Police Officer Who Framed African Americans Sentenced To Prison
We’ve previously discussed the crimes of ex-Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano, who was found to have framed innocent black citizens and/or teenagers here in Florida in order to boost his police department’s arrest and conviction statistics. On November 27, Atesiano was sentenced to three years in federal prison for these crimes, which included depriving people of their civil rights. He faced a maximum 10-year sentence for framing innocent people of such crimes as burglaries and car break-ins. In addition, three ex-officers that helped Atesiano were also sentenced to one and two years in prison.
Not only did Atesiano reportedly encourage his officers to arrest “any African American” with “somewhat of a record,” but at least one of the innocents illegally arrested and jailed was deported as a result of his actions. Atesiano plead guilty to encouraging three officers—Charlie Dayoub, Raul Fernandez, and Guillermo Ravelo—to arrest individuals who fit a specific racial profile without any legal basis or probable cause. These officers reportedly drafted false narratives containing fabricated information in support of the arrest affidavits and also falsified actual investigation information. The other officers reportedly signed these affidavits even though there was no evidence whatsoever to substantiate the arrest. One officer was also charged with using excessive force during an associated illegal arrest.
Your Rights against Police Misconduct
Federal law makes it illegal for anyone acting “under color of law” (i.e. a police officer, government representative, etc.) to violate someone else’s civil rights “willfully”. The most common violations associated with police misconduct typically involve the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments’ guarantee to life, liberty, and the due process of law.
However, the “willful” standard can often be difficult to prove, and has to constitute a somewhat obvious intent to deprive someone of their rights, as was the case with Atesiano and those who testified against him. This is one of the reasons why it can be difficult to convince the U.S. Justice Department to hold police accountable for misconduct. Officers’ behavior typically has to be particularly egregious in order for prosecutors to bring charges, even though, technically, the Department has the right to charge any defendant who has conspired to injure, intimidate, or threaten someone for exercising their own constitutional rights.
Contact Our Florida Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Attorneys If You Have Been a Victim
If you have been the victim of police misconduct here in Florida, and charged with a crime as a result, it is extremely important that you work with the very best in criminal defense in order to ensure that your civil rights are protected. Contact the aggressive criminal defense lawyers The Baez Law Firm today to find out more about our services.