A police chief and two police officers in a small Miami suburb were indicted Monday for framing an innocent 16-year-old in order to preserve the town's perfect record for solving burglaries, federal prosecutors charge.
Former Biscayne Park police chief Raimundo Atesiano and former officers Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez falsely arrested a 16-year-boy in 2013 for four unsolved burglaries, "knowing that there was no evidence and no lawful basis to support such charges," a Monday news release by federal prosecutors in Miami announcing the indictment said.
The boy was arrested “to maintain a fictitious 100 percent clearance rate of reported burglaries,” the news release added. After arresting the boy, Atesiano announced at a Biscayne Park City Council meeting that his department had "a 100 percent clearance rate for burglaries,” according to the indictment.
The boy is referred to as T.D. in the indictment. He was arrested on June 13, 2013. The outcome of the case against him is not known at this time, as juvenile criminal records are sealed in Florida and not publicly available.
According to the indictment against them, Atesiano directed Dayoub and Fernandez to gather information about four unsolved burglaries that occured within Biscayne Park. Then, using that information, Dayoub and Fernandez concocted a false narrative saying that an investigation revealed T.D. was responsible for all them, prosecutors said.
“Atesiano, Dayoub and Fernandez knew there was no evidence and no lawful basis to arrest and charge T.D. with those crimes,” federal prosecutors’ statement reads.
Atesiano was arrested and arraigned in Miami on Monday afternoon, and released on $50,000 bond with standard conditions, according to Sarah Schall, the Public Information Officer for the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Dayoub and Fernandez were not required to appear, but were instead issued summonses to appear at a future date, Schall said.
The three are charged with depriving T.D. of his civil rights, as well as conspiring to deprive him of his civil rights. If convicted, the three men each face a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison.
A Linkedin page with Atesiano's photograph and name says he left in April 2014 and is currently employed as director of security at the SoHo Beach House in Miami Beach.
This is not the first time officers from the Biscayne Park police department have faced a federal indictment. Just last month, former Biscayne Park officer Guillermo Ravelo was charged with beating two suspects and falsifying records documenting their arrests.
“Both assaults resulted in bodily injury, and on both occasions officer Ravelo falsified the police reports by misstating the circumstances of the arrests and by omitting that he struck both of the victims,” prosecutors said in a news release at the time they arrested Ravelo and unsealed the indictment against him.