Two Hialeah police officers have been arrested for allegedly writing false traffic tickets, officials said Wednesday.
Officers Armando Perez and Ernesto Arias-Martinez allegedly wrote false tickets and submitted those tickets as evidence of traffic violations, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velázquez said.
Both are facing official misconduct and falsifying public records charges.
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“Honesty and integrity must always be central values of every effective police agency,” said Rundle. “When police officers create false traffic tickets, as we are alleging happened here, they damage the reputation of their own department and the reputations of every police officer working to serve our Miami-Dade community."
The victims of the alleged false tickets received multiple traffic citations without ever having knowledge of having committed a traffic violation, officials said.
One victim “officially” received 18 citations on February 13, 2020, and then received 6 others the following day, all allegedly without his knowledge or without his ever having received a tangible citation. The victim recalled being stopped by Hialeah motorcycle officers, being asked for his vehicle’s documents, and then being told he would receive a citation in the mail. No actual traffic citation allegedly ever appeared.
Mail solicitations for legal representation in traffic court led to the victim’s discovery of the situation and he contacted the Hialeah Police Department.
An audit was conducted of the officers’ activities and 8 additional alleged victims were discovered with similar patterns of citation activity being indicated, officials said.
In some cases, false names were allegedly used in writing the “official” citations combined with actual information taken from the targeted vehicle drivers.
Perez has served 5 years with the Hialeah Police Department and Arias-Martinez is a 3 1/2-year member of the department.