MIAMI (WSVN) - Two former Hialeah Police officers who were arrested and face felony charges for allegedly beating a homeless man will remain in jail after they faced a judge.
The attorneys for Rafael Otano, 27, and Lorenzo Orfila, 22, attempted to get their clients out of jail after they were denied bond on Thursday.
Attorney Michael Pizzi, who represents Otano, indicated his client deserves to be granted bond.
“This decorated police officer, a father and family man, forcing him to remain in jail with no bail, when so many thousands of career criminals are released on bail, it’s really, really a sad day for the court system,” he said.
Family members of Otano who attended the hearing were in tears. Some were seen blowing kisses at an iPad screen after his virtual appearance from jail.
“Be strong,” a family member said.
Both ex-officers are accused of kidnapping Jorge Ortega Gutierrez from a shopping center, taking him to a secluded area and beating him up.
Surveillance video showed Ortega handcuffed as he was being taken away by Otano and Orfila. Although the homeless man was never officially arrested, he was still driven away in the duo’s police cruiser.
Thursday afternoon, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced the officers’ arrests.
“We will not allow rogue police officers to abuse their powers,” she said.
Attorneys for both officers said the main witness in the case is Ortega Gutierrez, who has a long criminal history and cannot be trusted. They insist their clients did nothing wrong.
“He’s not guilty. He looks forward to going to trial, and we believe wholeheartedly that he’ll be exonerated completely,” said Robert Barrar, Orfila’s attorney.
“We think these charges are ridiculous. He was a police officer on patrol in his sector doing his job,” said Pizzi.
The hearing to see if Orfila will be granted bond was pushed to Feb. 6.
A third man, Ali Saleh, was arrested and accused of tampering with evidence. He also remains in jail and is set to face a judge on Feb. 6.
One of the attorneys said this case is likely to be combined for trial.
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