In connection with the beating of a homeless man who had been drinking outside a shopping mall last month, two former South Florida police officers turned themselves in on Thursday, according to officials. They will now face felony charges. Rafael Otano, 27, and Lorenzo Orfila, 22, were arrested on allegations of kidnapping and violence on Thursday, according to NBC affiliate WTVJ.
At a news conference, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said that Orfila was also accused of official misconduct. According to the state attorney, the allegations are related to an incident that happened on December 17 when the officers came across a known local homeless man. The individual was placed in a patrol car, handcuffed, and taken to an isolated spot a distance away.
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Investigators could not uncover “any breaches that would have caused or justified taking him into custody,” Fernandez Rundle said. “There he was pulled out of the marked car, and while handcuffed, he was allegedly pummelling and thrown to the ground by the cops.” Authorities reported that the man died and woke up bleeding from the head.
A Hialeah Police officer who was not on duty was walking his dog shortly after the man had left the neighborhood. The cop dialed 911 while off duty. Detectives discovered 12 days into the inquiry that a bystander had approached the victim and offered him $1,200 to retract his first account. The victim later admitted to detectives that he could not read and was unaware of the document’s contents. Still, he signed it and accepted the money “because he is homeless and unemployed.”
That citizen was accused of interfering with witnesses. Hialeah Police Chief George Fuente remarked, “It’s a sad and terrible day when any officer betrays the badge, and it’s very disappointing to me it being an officer that worn the Hialeah badge.” “Those who trust us to serve and protect them must have untarnished integrity, and we will tolerate nothing less.” Otano has worked for the agency for six years, and Orfila has been there for three years. According to Fuente, the mayor fired both cops on Thursday.