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Police protest arrest of SWAT team members

Hundreds of police officers and family members marched Monday in support of five members of a police SWAT team accused of lying to federal investigators during an investigation of a 1996 drug raid in which a suspect was shot to death.

About 400 off-duty officers, family members and supporters gathered near the Miami police station in downtown Miami. They marched to the James Lawrence King federal building, which houses the U.S. Attorney's Office, and to the federal courthouse a block away.

The five Miami police officers were indicted on obstruction of justice charges Wednesday. They are accused of fabricating evidence and agreeing to make false statements about the slaying of Richard Brown, who was gunned down by the five officers and a sixth SWAT team member.

The SWAT team said that earlier on the day of the raid, Brown was seen dealing drugs from his home. The officers said Brown refused to let them into the apartment and then fired two shots from a revolver when they burst through the door. Brown was killed in a hail of 123 bullets as his 14-year-old great-granddaughter sought cover.

No drugs were found inside the home, but a container of cocaine was found outside a window.

The five officers _ Jose Acuna, Ralph Fuentes, Arturo Beguiristain, Eliezer Lopez and Alejandro Macias _ have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of their case, police said.

During the march, officers chanted, "Justice for all; we did nothing wrong," and carried signs, which read, "Arrest the crooks, not the cops."

After the group reached the federal courthouse, Ornell Cotera, president of Fraternal Miami Lodge 20, called the indictments "a slap in the face to all officers who go out every day and risk their lives."

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