Ex-Florida police officer Guillermo Ravelo, 37, pleaded guilty on Thursday to making false arrests on innocent black men
A former Florida police officer has pleaded guilty in a civil rights case regarding false arrests in which he admitted to framing innocent black men.
Guillermo Ravelo, 37, pleaded guilty on Thursday in Miami federal court to conspiracy to deprive a person of his civil rights and deprivation of civil rights under color of law.
Ravelo is accused of making the false arrests while working for the Biscayne Park Police Department in Miami in 2013 and 2014.
Prosecutors say Ravelo falsely arrested 35-year-old Clarens Desrouleaux in January 2013 for two residential burglaries, claiming at the time that he had confessed to the crime.
He also allegedly falsely arrested 31-year-old Erasmus Banmah for five vehicle burglaries despite knowing there was no evidence that connected him to the crimes.
Ravelo falsely claimed in paperwork that Banmah had taken him to the site and confessed to the items that he stole.
Authorities say Ravelo also struck and handcuffed another suspect during a traffic stop.
The charges against both Desrouleaux and Banmah were later dropped.
His boss at the time, Biscayne Park police chief Raimundo Atesiano, has been accused of urging his staff to pin unsolved crimes on random black people with prior records in a bid to boost the departments arrest rate.
Multiple officers and the chief at Biscayne Park Police Department (above) have been accused of making false arrests to boost their arrest rate
The Miami Herald obtained records last month regarding an internal probe from 2014 that allegedly support claims Atesiano had ordered his staff to make false arrests.
‘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,’ Officer Anthony De La Torre said in the 2014 probe.
‘They were basically doing this to have a 100 percent clearance rate for the city.’
The department cleared 29 out of 30 burglary cases from 2013-14. Investigators believe 11 of those were based on false arrests.
Atesiano and two other officers, Raul Fernandez and Charlie Dayoub, were recently charged with framing a teenager for several burglaries to improve their arrest statistics.
Ravelo, who was fired from the department earlier this year, is scheduled to be sentenced on October 4 following his guilty plea.