Bond hearing held for former Hialeah police officers accused of kidnapping, beating homeless man

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Two former Hialeah police officers accused of kidnapping and beating a homeless man while he was handcuffed appeared in court for an Arthur hearing Thursday to request bond.

Detectives took the stand Thursday afternoon to back up their investigation surrounding 27-year-old Rafael Otano and 22-year-old Lorenzo Orfila.

Surveillance video and testimonies from witnesses were all part of an Arthur hearing to determine if a pair of former Hialeah police officers should be released on bond.

According to authorities, both men were dispatched to a disturbance at Tres Conejitos Bakery, where they found 50-year-old Ortega Gutierrez, a homeless man who frequents the area.

On Jan. 26, prosecutors announced the arrests of Otano, Orfila and Hialeah business owner 46-year-old Ali Amin Saleh.

Video surveillance obtained by Local 10 News shows the officers putting Gutierrez in a police car.

Prosecutors said the officers kidnapped him, drove him to a remote location and beat him up.

Saleh is accused of coercing Gutierrez into signing an affidavit claiming he wasn’t beaten by the officers, with a promise of $1,200.

Juan Prietocofino, 51, is accused of notarizing the document without the victim’s presence or permission.

On Monday, Local 10 News learned that Prietocofino was also arrested and charged in the case and has since bonded out of jail.

Defense attorneys for both former officers told Local 10 News Tuesday that they thought the allegations were “fabricated” and “ridiculous.”

Defense attorneys got the chance to cross-examine the lead detective in the case to focus on Gutierrez’s credibility, criminal past and various statements.

According to court records, Gutierrez has had a lengthy record involving drugs and alcohol.

A judge will decide whether the trio would receive bond.

The state said they will continue to review surveillance video, GPS data, pictures of injuries and Gutirrerez’s sworn testimony.

The hearing was expected to continue into Friday.

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.