A former police chief of a small community in Florida had pleaded guilty to ordering several officers to frame African-American men in unsolved cases, the Miami Herald reports.
Former Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano pleaded in Miami federal court on Friday to conspiring with police officers to deprive suspects of their individuals’ civil rights, according to a U.S. Attorney’s office news release.
Prosecutors say the former police chief instructed three officers to arrest and charge individuals without legal basis to maintain a perfect clearance rate of reported burglaries. Those three officers have previously pleaded guilty to false arrest charges.
In June 2013, the officers charged an unnamed black teen in four unsolved burglaries, although the police knew there was no evidence to support the charges, authorities said.
The 52-year-old Atesiano resigned in 2014 from the police force in Biscayne Park, a suburb north of Miami. He was scheduled to face trial on Monday but his attorney negotiated the plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s office, according to the Herald.
Federal authorities said cops like Atesiano make all of law enforcement look bad. “The vast majority of law enforcement officers across the nation serve our community with honor and integrity. We will not allow the minority of officers who cast aside their oaths to tarnish the reputation of those who protect us all,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg said in a statement.
Atesiano will return to court on Nov. 27 for his scheduled sentencing, where he faces up to 10 years in prison.