In a suburb just north of Miami, former police chief Raimundo Atesiano had a perfect clearance rate for burglaries. In order to secure that perfect clearance rate, however, Atesiano instructed his officers to pin crimes on black men. For far too long the ploy worked all too well and now the city of Miami, the State of Florida, and the U.S. as a whole are forced to look in the mirror amid NFL protests concerning the conduct of police officers toward black suspects in criminal investigations.
Atesiano was forced to plead guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge that deprived three black men of their freedom. With two lesser charges dismissed, Atesiano would have faced a maximum of 10 years in prison for the civil rights violations.
Atesiano Takes a Plea
Atesiano was set to go to trial and roll the dice before a jury when the prosecution announced that it planned on introducing three more arrests made when Atesiano was a police officer on the force. Atesiano is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov 27, 2018. The prosecution will recommend a prison term of 2 to 2½ years.
Federal Authorities Condemn Atesiano
While many will be dissatisfied with the sentence, federal authorities have condemned Atesiano’s conduct saying that it makes all of those who enforce the law look bad in the eyes of the public. Perhaps that is enough to soothe some people or at least those in law enforcement, but for many, this is simply another example of law enforcement protecting its own.
It was largely because of Atesiano’s arrogance, moral turpitude, and outright stupidity that he was caught. Atesiano instituted a policy of racism in order to bloat his statistics. It’s one of the most blatant examples of structural racism that many believe pervades the criminal justice system.
Nonetheless, the prosecution did its job by forcing an admission of guilt from Atesiano. The revelation that there existed a policy of framing black men for crimes they didn’t commit does not help law enforcement advance the idea that their mission is to protect and serve.
Mutiny on Board a Sinking Ship
While two officers under Atesiano aided and abetted the police chief in his campaign against blacks in the community, there were others who stepped up and told investigators that they were under orders to issue false statements and arrest blacks in the community based on no apparent evidence. Miami-Dade prosecutors also threw out vaguely worded criminal charges that appeared to be too similar, used the same language, and felt wrong.
But that gives little comfort to those who were convicted under the phony charges, including one man who was charged to 5 years in prison and deported back to Haiti.
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