Former Biscayne Park police chief gets 3 years in prison for framing black people

Raimundo Atesiano had faced maximum 10-year sentence

MIAMI – The former police chief of Biscayne Park will serve three years in prison for a conspiracy in his department to frame black people for crimes they did not commit.

A federal judge in Miami imposed the sentence Tuesday on ex-Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano, who had faced a maximum 10-year sentence.

Three other former officers have pleaded guilty in the case, which centered around efforts by Atesiano to improve his department's crime-solving rate.

Atesiano's lawyer said the victims were not randomly selected but were known to police as having criminal pasts.

Prosecutors said the crimes for which black people were falsely arrested included burglaries and vehicle break-ins.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office is committed to holding those individuals accountable who abuse their positions of power to strip others of their civil rights," Fajardo Orshan, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said in a news release. "Today, former police Chief Raimundo Atesiano stood before the court to answer for his crimes and the federal prison sentence that was imposed is one step toward justice for the victims and our South Florida community."

Former officers Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez were each sentenced to a year in prison for their role in falsely arresting a 16-year old.

"I think he was really scared," Dayoub's attorney, Ana Davide, said. "I think he thought, because of the environment of that workplace, that if he didn't do it, he was going to fired." 

Another former officer, Guillermo Ravelo, was sentenced to more than two years behind bars.