By Frederick H. Lowe
Instead of putting people behind bars, the former police chief of a Florida town will spend the next three years behind bars for falsifying data leading to the arrest and conviction of three black men for crimes they did not commit in order to boost the department’s crime-solving statistics.
U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore on Tuesday sentenced Raimundo Atesiano, 53, former police chief of Biscayne Park for conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights.
Atesiano’s actions go to the heart of what many black men have long believed about the police falsifying evidence to convict them and sentence them to prison for crimes they didn’t commit.
After all, police argue, who is going to believe what a black man has to say? Even some black women refer often to black men as “jive and no good.”
One of the victims served five years in prison for a series of burglaries he didn’t commit. His conviction was later overturned. The victim was one of three black men convicted and sentenced to prison based on false information supplied by the Biscayne Park police. One of the black men was 16 years old.
Three former Biscayne Park police officers—Guillermo Ravelo, Charlie Davoub and Raul Fernandez—were sentenced for falsely arresting and charging the three black men with burglaries they did not commit.
Davoub and Fernandez were sentenced to a year behind bars, and Ravelo got 27 months.
Atesiano told the judge that when he took the job he wasn’t prepared, but State’s Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Atesiano put arrest statistics above the rights of innocent men.
Atesiano has been ordered to report to prison in two weeks, according to the Miami Herald newspaper.