Florida police chief allegedly ordered false arrests for random Black people to improve stats
A federal investigation in Miami, Florida is examining several cases against Biscayne Park police officers who are accused of framing innocent people. The investigation took a sharp turn when a police officer admitted he falsified arrest warrants for two Black men at the behest of his police chief.
Guillermo Ravelo pleaded guilty on Thursday to a conspiracy charge of violating the rights of falsely accused Black men. One of the men was charged with five vehicle burglaries and the other with a couple of break-ins. The charges were later dropped.
This latest admission comes after Raimundo Atesiano, the former Biscayne police chief and Ravelo’s boss, was indicted this past June on a conspiracy charge of pinning four home burglaries on a 16-year-old Black kid. Other former police officers who were indicted on this charge were Raul Fernandez and Charlie Dayoub. The investigation concluded that the false arrest warrants for innocent Black people were so the chief could claim a perfect clearance rate on crime.
As police chief, Atesiano’s record of clearing 29 of 30 burglaries was unparalleled. However, the record is now tarnished as 11 of those cases were based on false arrest reports.
Former police officers Dayoub, Fernandez, and Ravelo have all claimed they falsified reports on innocent Black people at the direction of Raimundo Atesiano.
The Miami Herald received internal records which confirm that some of the command staff were pressuring officers into racially profiling Black people.
“If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved yet, if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries,” one cop said according to a 2014 internal probe. “They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city.”
Another report from the probe indicates that four officers notified an outside investigator of the racial profiling and false charges to improve the department’s stats. Former Biscayne Park village manager, Heidi Shafran, ordered an investigation after receiving letters from several cops.
“The letters said police were doing a lot of bad things,” Shafran told the Herald. “It said police officers were directed to pick up people of color and blame the crimes on them.