Former Miami officer Rafael Otano is on trail after being charged alongside fellow cop Lorenzo Orfila for the kidnapping and beating of homeless man Jose Ortega-Gutierrez.
Ortega-Gutierrez testified in Spanish that he had encountered officers responding to complaints of his disturbing the peace. He described how they took him out of a store or tent, handcuffed him, and placed him in a police cruiser. Instead of being taken to jail, Ortega-Gutierrez claimed he was kidnapped by the officers. He testified that they drove him to a remote location, beat him, and left him there as if he were dead.
"They took me out. They tossed me head-first on the floor. And they started hitting me and they were hitting me while I was handcuffed," he testified.
Video evidence presented during the trial showed Ortega-Gutierrez with visible injuries, including a laceration on his head, a swollen and bruised face, and torn clothes. Otano's defense attempted to discredit Ortega-Gutierrez by portraying him as a criminal with a history of lying. Otano's attorney argued that Otano wasn't present during the arrest and beating, blaming a faulty GPS system that indicated a different location.
Ortega-Gutierrez's testimony raises serious allegations of police misconduct, and both officers involved, Rafael Otano and Lorenzo Orfila, were fired after the charges were filed.
Link: NBC Miami