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Florida police chief who pleaded guilty to framing innocent black residents for burglaries sentenced to three years in prison


Raimundo Atesiano was charged with ordering his officers to arrest innocent black men for unsolved crimes. (Dreamstime)

The former Florida police chief who admitted to directing his officers to pin unsolved burglaries on innocent black men was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday.

Raimundo Atesiano, the former police chief in Biscayne Park, pleaded guilty in September to “a conspiracy charge of depriving the three suspects of their civil rights because he and the officers charged them without a legal basis,” according to the Miami Herald.

“When I took the job, I was not prepared,” Atesiano told a federal judge Tuesday, according to the newspaper. “I made some very, very bad decisions.”

According to his plea statement, Atesiano ordered two officers to arrest Clarence Desrouleaux for breaking into two homes in the area because “there was reliable information that (he) had forged and cashed a check stolen during the course of” a third burglary. Desrouleaux pleaded guilty and was deported to Hawaii.

A year later, Atesiano ordered the arrest of another black man, Erasmus Banmah, for five unsolved car break-ins without any evidence.

During Atesiano’s tenure, his department cleared 29 of 30 burglary cases, but the Miami Herald reported that authorities believe at least 11 of those arrests used false reports.

Of the department’s 12 officers, four told an investigator that they were ordered to file false charges in order to make their crime statistics more impressive.

Atesiano’s attorney claimed that the men who had been arrested had a history of criminal activity.

“They were no saints,” Richard Docobo told the judge Tuesday.

Two former officers in Biscayne Park were each sentenced to a year in prison and a third got about two years behind bars.