MIAMI -- Fourteen police officers facing federal corruption charges were
investigated by their department for at least 293 allegations of misconduct,
the Miami Herald reported.
The police department's internal investigations cleared the officers
all the accusations, which included witness reports or physical evidence
pistol whippings, broken noses and, in one case, rape, the newspaper
Critics say the department ignored the allegations to protect officers
who have been with the force for the past 20 years. But Police Chief Raul
Martinez defended his department and said that although it may have done
"lousy job disciplining these cases," there was no evidence of
Lawyers for the officers say the allegations by police suspects are
"They are aggressive," said Richard Sharpstein, who represents officers
Arturo Beguiristain and Jorge Castello. "That doesn't upset the citizenry,
but it upsets the criminals, and they make bogus allegations."
In September, 14 members of special Miami police squads were charged
an FBI investigation into guns planted at crime scenes and lies to cover
wrongful police actions in four questionable shootings.
At least three people died in the shootings in the late 1990s. In one,
SWAT team fired 123 bullets into an apartment, then lied about finding a
in a dead man's hand, the FBI said. Two unarmed robbers were shot in the
back while fleeing, and a homeless man was shot in the leg.
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Two officers pleaded guilty in the charges and will testify against their