Attorney for former Hialeah cop accused of beating homeless man said he'll be exonerated
By CBS Miami Team,
MIAMI - Attorneys for two Hialeah police officers charged in the kidnapping and beating of a homeless man appeared in court on Friday.
Both Lorenzo Orfila, 22, and Rafael Otano, 27, have been charged with armed kidnapping and battery. Orfila is facing an additional charge of official misconduct by a public servant and battery.
"He's not guilty, he looks forward to going to trial. We believe wholeheartedly that'll he'll be exonerated completely," said Robert Barrar, Orfila's attorney.
Both of the officers were first removed from active duty before being fired from the department.
According to the arrest affidavit, on December 17th, the officers handcuffed a homeless man, identified as 50-year-old Jose Ortega Gutierrez, at a shopping plaza.
The report stated he was not arrested for "any violation of Florida State Statute and/or Miami-Dade County Ordinance." They're accused of taking him to an "isolated" location where they beat him into unconsciousness. They then reportedly left him there.
The officers' bodycams were not activated during the encounter.
When Gutierrez regain consciousness, he began walking and was spotted by an off-duty Hialeah police officer. He told the officer that he had been beaten by two officers.
According to the arrest report, the officer sent to take Gutierrez's statement was contacted by Orfila and asked that he "no report" the call. The officer ignored the request.
Twelve days later, Gutierrez was approached by Ali Aamin Saleh who asked to sign an affidavit that had already been notarized affirming that he had not been beaten by the two officers, according to the report. In exchange, he offered him $1,350.
Gutierrez said he signed the form and took the money because he was out of work and homeless. Investigators later concluded that Gutierrez had been beaten after examining other evidence related to the officers' whereabouts and how they reported the interaction with him.
Saleh has been charged with witness tampering.
All three men are being held without bond. Gutierrez is in jail on drug charges.
Comments / 0