MIAMI – A police officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department has been sentenced to prison for deprivation of civil rights.
A U.S. district judge sentenced Prabhainjana Dwivedi to 30 months' imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, as a result of the jury's verdict.
Authorities said Dwivedi was taken into custody when the verdict was returned.
"Dwivedi betrayed the public trust by unlawfully stopping, searching and detaining people in Miami, thereby, depriving them of their civil rights," said U.S. attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. "The U.S. Attorney's Office is committed to making our communities safer by holding individuals accountable who do not respect the civil rights of others. This case is a reminder that no one is above the law."
Dwivedi was convicted at trial of six counts of deprivation of civil rights. Evidence at trial showed that Dwivedi has been employed as an officer with MDPD since Feb. 28, 2005.
Dwivedi was assigned to the midnight shift and was responsible for patrolling the areas of Key Biscayne, Metrorail and bus stations, and Jackson Memorial Hospital.
The evidence presented at trial further revealed that during the months of May and June 2011, the Miami-Dade Police Department Professional Compliance Bureau received four complaints regarding Dwivedi's inappropriate behavior.
As a result of these complaints, an investigation was conducted. The evidence showed that during one shift, Dwivedi was observed conducting 26 traffic stops; however, only three were listed on his daily activity sheet and none were called into the dispatcher, said authorities.
Trial testimony and documents demonstrated that Dwivedi had not run computer checks on any of the victims, had not issued any citations, nor listed his contact with the victims in any paperwork or radio transmissions.
Furthermore, each victim testified at trial to events and interactions with Dwivedi that were similar in nature.
"The officer's actions have tarnished the badges of all sworn to uphold the law," said MDPD Director J.D. Patterson. "We support this conviction and remain resolute in policing our own."