A police chief and two officers in a small Miami community framed a 16-year-old boy for four burglaries to keep up a perfect score on crime statistics, federal prosecutors said.
The indictment was filed on Monday. Prosecutors alleged that former Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano “caused and encouraged officers to knowingly arrest [the teenager] without a legitimate basis in order to maintain a fictitious 100 percent clearance rate of reported burglaries.”
Two former patrol officers, Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez, gathered information on four unsolved burglaries, completed arrest affidavits and created a false storyline that the teenager had burglarized the unoccupied homes, prosecutors allege.
Atesiano directed them to arrest the teen, identified in the document as T.D., in June 2013, despite officers “knowing that there was no evidence and no lawful basis to support such charges.”
It is unclear when T.D. was arrested, or what happened next. But less than a month after Atesiano’s alleged order, he announced at a city council meeting that the department had a 100 percent clearance rate for burglaries, according to the indictment.
The police department, operating in a community of some 3,200 people just north of Miami, has been plagued with troubles, the Miami Herald reported.
Atesiano resigned suddenly in 2014, and reportedly had borrowed thousands of dollars from a colleague of lower rank with a promise “to repay the money through a combination of taxpayer-funded overtime and off-duty work.” (Atesiano said it was a joke, while another called it “betrayal.”)
A reserve officer and a former cop also were charged with assaulting people in separate incidents, the Herald reported.
The Biscayne Park Police Department did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment. Atesiano’s lawyer, Neil Schuster, declined to comment when contacted by NPR.
Atesiano surrendered Monday to authorities and was granted a $50,000 personal surety bond, according to the Herald. His arraignment is reported to be scheduled for June 25. Dayoub and Fernandez are expected to appear in court later in the month.
All three are charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights and deprivation of the teenager’s civil rights. Each faces up to 11 years in prison.