Six Police Officers Indicted on Civil Rights Charges
MIAMI (AP) _ Six police officers have been indicted on civil rights charges in the December beating death of a suspected drug dealer who allegedly had put out a murder contract on one of them.
A federal grand jury Tuesday indicted the six members of the Miami police force’s elite street narcotics unit. They face a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
Four of the officers were arrested and the others had surrendered by early today.
Leonardo Mercado, 35, a small-time crack dealer, died Dec. 16 after police received an anonymous tip that he had put out a contract on Officer Pablo Camacho.
Mercado was beaten at a relative’s house. Witnesses said the officers took Mercado inside the home, shut the door and pulled a curtain closed. Rescue workers took him to a hospital, where he died a short time later.
Camacho and Officers Charlie Haynes, Ronald Sinclair, Thomas Trujillo, Nathaniel Veal and Andy Watson were each charged with four civil rights violations, said Diane Cossin, executive assistant to U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen.
The six were relieved of their duties soon after the death.
The Police Department was rocked earlier in the decade by charges that 15 officers stole drugs from smugglers and resold them. The 15 were blamed for the drownings of three drug boat guards, who leaped into the Miami River in a 1985 raid.