Five Miami Police Officers Indicted
Mar. 01, 2002
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MIAMI (AP) _ Five city police officers have been indicted by a grand jury _ four on charges they severely beat a handcuffed suspect, a fifth for allegedly lying to investigators after fatally shooting a mentally ill man.
The indictments were handed down Thursday.
In the first case, Officers Jesus Aguero, Jorge Garcia, Wilfredo Perez and Jorge Castello were charged with depriving Alexander Anazco of his civil rights for allegedly beating him after his arrest. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Anazco was arrested in February 1997 while driving a vehicle used by someone who had thrown a rock at one of the officer's car, U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis said. Anazco suffered head and knee injuries that required medical treatment, and had cigarette burns on his body, Lewis said.
Lawyers for the four officers did not return calls Thursday seeking comment.
In the other indictment, Officer Alejandro Macias is charged with two counts of obstructing justice for the March 1999 fatal shooting of Jesse Runnels.
Macias and other SWAT team officers were called to a home where Runnels, a psychiatric patient, was attempting to commit suicide by slitting his wrists. After an hour standoff, Macias fatally shot Runnels.
Federal authorities say Macias lied when he told investigators Runnels rushed toward him with a handgun. Macias faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
``This is a flawed investigation,'' said William Matthewman, Macias' attorney. ``Runnels was a criminal and everything that happened to him was proper and legal.''
Miami police officials declined comment Thursday.