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Florida Judge Rejects ‘Slap on the Wrist’ Sentencing

by Kevin Bliss

 Former police officers Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez were sentenced on October 17, 2018, to the federal maximum of one year in prison for falsifying arrest affidavits.

Dayoub expected only eight months of home confinement and Fernandez, one year of probation, after their cooperation assisted in securing a guilty plea from Raimundo Atesiano, the former police chief of Biscayne Park, a suburb of Miami, Florida.

Atesiano pleaded guilty to felony civil rights conspiracy in a scheme to boost his crime-fighting record. According to the indictment, Atesiano’s directive to officers was to arrest any black person, especially those with previous felony convictions, walking around in any neighborhood where burglaries had been committed. He was going to use these arrests to acquire a nearly 100 percent clearance on burglaries in his community.

He “caused and encouraged” Officer Dayoub and Officer Fernandez, who was one of the reserve officers, to falsely arrest “T.D.” and charge him in the four burglaries,” the indictment said. “He also directed the officers in 2013 to falsely arrest ‘C.D.,’ as identified in court documents, “for two burglaries, even though there was no evidence the man had committed the crimes,” reports.

U.S. District Judge Michael K. Moore stated that the prosecutors were engaging in sentencing manipulation with Dayoub and Fernandez.

One officer had already pleaded guilty to felony civil rights violations, and with the testimony from Dayoub and Fernandez, Atesiano confessed in September 2018 to the scheme. He pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge to deprive three men of their civil rights and was sentenced in November 2018 to three years in prison. “Although race was not a factor in the federal case against the former police chief, the three wrongly arrested men are black,” reports.

Dayoub’s and Fernandez’s families wept in disbelief as the sentences were handed down. Judge Moore stated that, had the prosecutors even attempted to prosecute this case, it would have been a “slam dunk.” He also stated concerning the recommended sentence that, “It would have been a slap on the wrist, and it would have sent entirely the wrong message – particularly to the minority community. To think that they can come in court and get a slap on the wrist is insulting to the men and women in law enforcement.”




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