Two police officers and the former police chief of Biscayne Park, Florida, have been charged with framing a 16-year-old with crimes the youth didn’t commit. The reason, according to prosecutors, was to boost arrests in order falsely improve enforcement statistics for the department.
Five years ago, Officers Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez allegedly gathered evidence from four unsolved robberies and submitted fictitious police reports that pinned all of the crimes on the unnamed teenager.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, former Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano instructed the officers to create the false reports in order to inflate the department’s burglary arrest statistics. In fact, just a month after the teen’s arrest, Chief Atesiano bragged publicly about having a perfect record.
The indictment states, “The existence of this fictitious 100 percent clearance rate of reported burglaries was used by Atesiano to gain favor with elected officials and concerned citizens.”
Charges against the three accused include civil rights violations and conspiracy.
Atesiano faced a Miami magistrate judge for the first time Monday afternoon after being indicted on charges that he violated the teen’s civil rights during the arrests five years ago. The judge set his arraignment for June 25.
This is not the first time the chief had been investigated for his actions during his time serving the people of Biscayne Park. Atesiano had a separate ethics inquiry launched against him in 2014, the same year he resigned from the department.
In that situation, Atesiano was accused of borrowing thousands of dollars from a subordinate, with the promise to pay the underling back with taxpayer dollars via overtime and off-duty work. Even a contract was signed between the two, but no disciplinary action was taken by investigators.
Biscayne Park is a town with roughly 3,200 residents. New village manager, Krishan Manners, said that current officials are cooperating fully with the investigation — and that the type of behavior that allegedly led to the arrests of the officers and former chief would not be tolerated under current leadership.
“That’s not the way things are done in Biscayne Park,” Manners said. “This was five years ago. We have a different manager and a different police chief.”