South Florida Police Chief Targeted Innocent Black Men, Chief Pleads Guilty
In St, Biscayne Park, FL Chief Atesiano consistently looked for innocent black men to arrest only for his department to have a 100% clearance rate on burglary cases.
On Friday Chief Atesiano, 52, pled guilty in Miami federal court, admitting that he directed three of his police officers to blame a series of unsolved home and vehicle break-ins on three innocent black men to perfect the force’s property crimes record.
Chief Atesiano's guilty plea included charges of conspiracy to deprivation of civil rights.
Chief Atesiano's plea came days before his trial was set to begin which was scheduled for Monday.
Three former Biscayne Park police officers have also pleaded guilty to civil rights violations.
The Miami New Times reports that in August 2018, officers Charlie Dayoub, 38, and Raul Fernandez, 62, pleaded guilty that they falsified the arrest affidavits for a 16-year-old black suspect regarding four unsolved break-ins in June 2013.
Chief Atesiano told the two officers that he wanted them to unlawfully arrest the teen, for the residential burglaries knowing that there was no evidence that the teen had committed the burglaries.
The charges against the teen were eventually dropped after the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office noticed the four arrest affidavits, written by Fernandez and signed by Dayoub, all used similar vague language — that the “investigation revealed” T.D. employed the same “M.O.” and the homes had a “rear door pried open.”
A third Biscayne Park police officer Guillermo Ravelo pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge that he violated the rights of two falsely accused men.
Ravelo admitted falsifying arrest warrants for two men at the direction of Chief Atesiano during 2013 and 2014. Those men were in their 30s at the time.
In January 2013, Atesiano ordered Dayoub and Ravelo to arrest 35-year-old Clarence Desrouleaux on charges of breaking into a pair of homes in Biscayne Park, according to a factual statement filed with the ex-chief’s plea agreement. Atesiano told the officers to take Desrouleaux into custody because “there was reliable information that [he] had forged and cashed a check stolen during the course of” a third home burglary, according to the statement.
Then, “Atesiano told the officers to make the arrests for the two additional burglaries, despite knowing that there was no evidence that [Desrouleaux] committed the burglaries” at the two homes, the statement said.
Because of the corrupt officers, Desrouleaux was sentenced to five years in prison and was ordered deported to Haiti. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has since threw out his wrongful conviction, but Desrouleaux remains in Hati.
In February 2014, Chief Atesiano told Ravelo that he wanted him to arrest Erasmus Banmah, 31, for five unsolved vehicle burglaries, despite knowing there was “no evidence” that he had committed the crimes, prosecutors said in court records.
A couple of days later, Ravelo submitted five arrest forms falsely accusing Banmah of the vehicle burglaries at five different street locations in Biscayne Park.
Atesiano’s sentencing is on Nov. 27 before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. He faces between 2 and 2-1/2 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.
In the indictment prosecutors say:
> “As chief of police for the Village of Biscayne Park, [Atesiano] caused and encouraged officers to arrest persons without a legal basis in order to have arrests effectuated for all reported burglaries. The existence of this fictitious 100% clearance rate of reported burglaries was used by [him] to gain favor with elected officials and concerned citizens.”
Miami-Dade prosecutors said they will review old criminal arrests in Biscayne Park during Atesiano’s tenure in 2013-2014.