Former Hialeah police officers accused of kidnapping beat homeless man and demand bail

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Florida. – Two former Hialeah police officers accused of kidnapping and beating a homeless man while he was handcuffed appeared in court on Tuesday to seek bail.

According to authorities, the officers, 27-year-old Rafael Otano and 22-year-old Lorenzo Orfila, were dispatched to a disturbance at the Tres Conejitos bakery, where they found 50-year-old Ortega Gutierrez, a homeless man visiting the area.

On January 26, prosecutors announced the arrest of 46-year-old Ali Amin Saleh, the business owner of Otano, Orfila and Hialeah.

CCTV obtained by Local 10 News shows officers putting Gutierrez in a police car.

Prosecutors said officers kidnapped him, drove him to a remote location, and beat him up.

Saleh is accused of forcing Gutierrez to sign an affidavit claiming he was not beaten by officers with a promise of $1,200.

Juan Prietocofino, 51, is accused of notarizing the document without the victim’s presence or permission.

On Monday, Local 10 News learned that Prietocofino was also arrested and charged in the case and has since been released from prison.

Defense attorneys for both former officers told Local 10 News on Tuesday that they thought the allegations were “fabricated” and “ridiculous.”

Defense attorneys had the opportunity to cross-examine the lead detective on the case to focus on Gutierrez’s credibility, criminal history and various testimonies.

According to court records, Gutierrez has a long history involving drugs and alcohol.

A judge will decide whether the trio will be granted bail.

The state said they will review surveillance video, GPS data, images of injuries and Gutirrerez’s affidavit.

The hearing is expected to last until Wednesday.

Copyright 2023 by WPLG – All rights reserved. Former Hialeah police officers accused of kidnapping beat homeless man and demand bail

Sarah Y. Kim

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