[Hpn] Police shot homeless man & planted gun, Miami investigators say FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Mon, 26 Jun 2000 22:46:04 -0700 (PDT)


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FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - June 24, 2000

     POLICE INVESTIGATE ALLEGED PLANTED GUN

MIAMI (AP) _ Six police officers have been assigned to desk duty
while investigators determine whether they planted a gun on a
homeless man who had just been shot in the leg by an officer.

Investigators say a .45-caliber pistol found at the scene was
planted there by officers, to make it appear that the shooting
victim, Daniel Hoban, had been armed. Hoban, who survived, actually
had been holding a radio.

Miami Police Chief Raul Martinez on Friday ordered the officers
to surrender their guns, badges and city patrol cars. They continue
to receive their pay. The six are: Sgt. Jose F. Acuna, 42; Officer
Arturo Beguiristain, 39; Officer Jorge L. Garcia, 37; Sgt. Rafael
``Ray'' Martinez, 40; Officer John T. Mervolion, 45; and Officer
Wilfredo ``Willie'' Perez, 34.

Although they are the subjects of an internal affairs
investigation, they have not been criminally charged.

One former officer already convicted of official misconduct in
the case is Rolando Jacobo, who told The Miami Herald that all six
officers played a role in the incident. He said that after Hoban
was shot by Officer Jorge Castello, Martinez decided to plant the
gun.

``He started waving. `Bring the sock, bring the sock.''' Jacobo
said. ``Sock'' is the code word for a throw-down gun some officers
might carry to plant on unarmed suspects, he said.

Beguiristain has denied any wrongdoing. The other officers and
their lawyers could not be reached for comment.

It's the first major disciplinary action for Martinez since he
became police chief in May, filling a vacancy left by Chief William
O'Brien, who resigned in the aftermath of the Elian Gonzalez
federal raid.

The move comes less than a week after the city settled a fatal
police shooting lawsuit for $2.5 million. One of the officers
reassigned Friday, Beguiristain, was also involved in that 1996
case.

The June 26, 1997, shooting of Hoban is being investigated by
the Miami-Dade state attorney's office and federal prosecutors.
State prosecutors are pursuing a possible perjury case against the
officers while federal officials are probing possible civil rights
violations.

AP-ES-06-24-00 1242EDT
Received  Id AP10017623059AE8 on Jun 24 2000 11:43

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