Four months ago, the Miami-Herald reported the chief of the Biscayne Park police force in Miami-Dade had pressured his officers to frame innocent people. Yesterday, that police chief was sentenced to three years in prison.
Three former officers pleaded guilty and also received prison time, though less time than the chief.
According to a 2014 outside investigation, Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano had been so determined to obtain a perfect crime-solving rate that he pressured his officers into framing innocent people.
At least one officer claimed they were told to specifically target innocent black people.
Although it’s appalling that a law enforcement officer would behave so unscrupulously, what’s perhaps most appalling of all is that in 2006 — two years before Atesiano was hired by the Biscayne Park police force — he had been forced to resign from a job elsewhere after he forged a man’s name on a court notice for a marijuana arrest.
However, it’s at least reassuring that justice was pursued in this situation and that other officers behaved admirably. The corruption may never have been uncovered without the bravery of officers such as Omar Martinez or Anthony De La Torre, who refused to follow such orders and spoke up about them, or the Biscayne Park village manager who ordered the 2014 outside investigation after hearing about the corruption.
Actions such as those, rather than covering up corruption, are what boosts confidence and trust in the police and creates safer communities.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.