A judge finally sentenced a group of ex-police officers in Biscayne Park, Florida who were involved in a huge corruption scandal this week. The three officers were found guilty of framing innocent African Americans for crimes and received a lighter sentence than many Black defendants who are jailed for longer periods and for minor reasons.
The three officers — Guillermo Ravelo, 37, Charlie Dayoub, 38, and Raul Fernandez, 62 — were given less than three years in jail each. On Thursday (Oct. 18), Ravelo received 27 months behind bars as part of the Biscayne Park Police Department’s conspiracy to blame Black people for crimes they didn’t commit. On Wednesday, Dayoub and Fernandez got one year apiece for making false, racially motivated arrests, the Miami Herald reported.
Dayoub and Fernandez specifically played a role in falsely pinning burglaries on a 16-year-old Black teen as part of their twisted goal to clear 100 percent of all property crime cases by racist means. Ravelo wrongfully charged two Black men with burglaries and used excessive force on a Latinx man during a traffic stop.
The town’s police chief, Raimundo Atesiano, 52, was also fired and indicted for pressuring the officers into the wrongfully racist arrests. Atesiano, who pleaded guilty to a civil rights conspiracy charge ahead of his trial in September, faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in November.
The corruption cases highlighted how officers can violate the civil rights of people of color, a pressing issue that finds its roots in Black history. It also sheds light on the blue wall of protection in police departments, as the officers stuck together in framing Black people for offenses.
With the cases’ significance, the officers have been punished but have received lighter sentences than some African Americans jailed for less significant things such as voting. Crystal Mason, a Black mother in Texas, was sentenced to five years in prison for alleged illegal voting earlier this year. The Florida police and Mason cases beg the question of whether the crime fits the time.