By Raphael Pires / wsvn.com
WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – Two Hialeah police officers have been arrested for allegedly writing fake traffic tickets.
Armando Perez and Ernesto Arias-Martinez, both motorcycle officers, were charged Wednesday with official misconduct and falsifying public records. They did not speak to reporters as they bailed out of jail in the afternoon.
Perez faces five counts of each while Arias-Martinez faces four counts of each.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement, “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 knowing they had committed a traffic violation.
“It’s just a distrust to the community,” Fernandez Rundle said. “It’s very serious whenever our police officers, a handful of bad police officers, dishonor all of the other good, hard-working men and women in uniform. This is just bad all the way around.”
On Feb. 13, 2020, one victim officially received 18 citations, and according to the arrest report, “he was pulled over but did not receive any citations.”
The following day, he received an additional six citations without any official notification. The victim added he started getting mail about legal representation for traffic court.
He said he called Hialeah Police to figure out what was going on, which led to this discovery.
During the investigation, officials said they found another eight victims with similar stories.
“A lot of those folks had their licenses suspended because they hadn’t responded to those citations that they were completely unaware of,” Fernandez Rundle said. “We don’t know at this point what the ultimate resolution will be, but it’s a very serious situation.”
The Hialeah Police Chief said the two officers will immediately be terminated and stripped of all their duties.
Fernandez Rundle said her office is working with the victims to correct their records.