Raimundo Atesiano had a scheme to make himself look good. It landed him in federal prison.
The former police chief of Biscayne Park, Florida, once bragged at a city council meeting that his department had a 100% clearance rate for burglaries. But prosecutors say it’s because Atesiano directed his officers to pin unsolved crimes on innocent people.
Atesiano, 52, was given a three-year prison sentence Tuesday for conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights, according to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office.
Throughout his tenure as chief in Biscayne Park, a tiny Miami village of just over 3,000 people, he encouraged three officers — Guillermo Ravelo, Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez — to falsely arrest individuals with no evidence or probable cause to cover for all reported burglaries, the release said.
“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 Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Miami-Dade’s residents deserve honesty and integrity, qualities that Raimundo Atesiano deliberately failed to deliver.”
Atesiano directed the officers in June 2013 to arrest a 16-year-old (referred to in court documents only as T.D.) and charge him with unsolved burglaries at four homes “knowing that there was no evidence and no lawful basis to support such charges.”
The next month, Atesiano went to a Biscayne Park city council meeting and announced that his department had a 100% clearance rate for burglaries.
Following directions from Atesiano, Ravelo falsely arrested a victim known as “C.D.” in January 2013, and another victim identified as “E.B.” in February 2014, on burglary charges without any legal standing, the Justice Department said.
The outcome of those criminal cases was not immediately available Wednesday.
Ravelo was sentenced last month to 27 months in prison. Dayoub and Fernandez were each sentenced to one year in prison last month for their part in falsely arresting T.D. The officers cooperated with the government and directly implicated Atesiano, who resigned his job in early 2014.
By Doug Criss, CNN