Florida's law enforcement has a blight on its record after it was revealed a former police chief pressured officers to frame "anybody black" for unrelated crimes to boost the department's crime statistics and make himself look better. The news was broken by the Miami Herald who obtained records of an internal probe of the small-town department in Biscayne Park, Florida. The investigation found that high-ranking officers in Biscayne Park Police Department pressured some cops to make unwarranted arrests of random black people.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Feds say that the former police chief of Biscayne Park framed a teen, accusing him of 4 burglaries he didn’t commit in order to show that his police Dept had no unsolved crimes. Raimundo Atesiano and two former cops were arrested today. <a href="https://t.co/o09SUqN8sN">pic.twitter.com/o09SUqN8sN</a></p>— Frank Guzman (@fguzmanon7) <a href="https://twitter.com/fguzmanon7/status/1006236963698036737?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 11, 2018</a></blockquote>
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They were told the random black arrests would make the department's crime stats look better, according to an interview with one officer during the 2014 investigation. Officer Anthony De La Torre said he was told, "If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved, yet if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries."They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city."
During the internal investigation, another officer named Omar Martinez said in a statement that he wouldn't carry out those "illegal and unethical" orders. Martinez said, "I will not arrest an innocent person to make the department look good." One-third of the police officers who patrol the 3,000 resident village north of Miami Shores claimed they were told to file the phony charges. Of those four police officers, only De La Torre said he was told to specifically target black people.
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It turns out, the unethical orders weren't the only signs of trouble in the small police department. "The letters said police were doing a lot of bad things," Heidi Shafran. "It said police officers were directed to pick up people of color and blame the crimes on them." Raimundo Atesiano was police chief at the time of the scandal and resigned during the 2014 probe. During Atesiano's two year time as police chief, the department solved 29 of 30 burglary cases but in 2015, the year following Atesiano's resignation, not one single burglary case was solved among the 19 reported.
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