News and Press Releases

Police Officer Sentenced to Prison for Deprivation of Civil Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and J.D. Patterson, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), announced today the sentencing of Prabhainjana Dwivedi, a police officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Today, U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez sentenced Dwivedi to 30 months’ imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, as a result of the jury’s verdict. Dwivedi was taken into custody when the verdict was returned.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Dwivedi betrayed the public trust by unlawfully stopping, searching and detaining people in Miami, thereby, depriving them of their civil rights. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to making our communities safer by holding individuals accountable who do not respect the civil rights of others. This case is a reminder that no one is above the law.”

“We are pleased with the sentence for Dwivedi because his actions affected more than the individuals he stopped and/or detained without lawful authority. His actions also undermined the public’s trust in law enforcement,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge William J. Maddalena, FBI Miami. “The FBI will continue to work with our partners to remove those law enforcement officers who cross the line to engage in criminal misconduct.”

“The officer’s actions have tarnished the badges of all sworn to uphold the law. We support this conviction and remain resolute in policing our own,” stated MDPD Director J.D. Patterson.

Dwivedi was convicted at trial of six counts of deprivation of civil rights. The evidence at trial revealed that between May 27, 2011 and June 26, 2011, Dwivedi, while acting as a police officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department, without lawful authority, stopped and/or detained numerous individuals, and deprived those individuals of their rights secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, specifically, the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures by one acting under color of law, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242.

Evidence at trial showed that Dwivedi has been employed as an Officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) since February 28, 2005. During the time period between May and June 2011, Dwivedi was assigned to the midnight shift (10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) and was responsible for patrolling the areas of Key Biscayne, Metrorail and bus stations, and Jackson Memorial Hospital.

The evidence presented at trial further revealed that during the months of May and June 2011, the Miami-Dade Police Department Professional Compliance Bureau received four complaints regarding Dwivedi’s inappropriate behavior. As a result of these complaints, an investigation was conducted. The evidence showed that during one shift, Dwivedi was observed conducting twenty-six traffic stops; however, only three were listed on his daily activity sheet and none were called into the dispatcher. Trial testimony and documents demonstrated that Dwivedi had not run computer checks on any of the victims, had not issued any citations, nor listed his contact with the victims in any paperwork or radio transmissions. Furthermore, each victim testified at trial to events and interactions with Dwivedi that were similar in nature.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and MDPD. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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