A South Florida man is speaking out for the first time since he says he was severely harmed by police when they arrested him at his Opa-locka home.
Jafet Castro-Reyes spoke exclusively to NBC 6 and is now suing Opa-locka Police for the incident back in September 2020.
"They treat me like animal," Castro-Reyes said. "They put me on my face. They put the stun gun. ”
Opa-locka Police responded to a call for help at the home of then 19-year-old Castro-Reyes, who has mental disabilities. His family says they wanted professional assistance in calming him down and that he was already restrained, but instead, they watched as police abused Castro-Reyes and tased him multiple times.
"The bruised my face. They treated me like animal. They can’t do that,” Castro-Reyes said.
Family members shot cellphone video that showed Casto-Reyes being dragged down the stairs and one officer offering an explanation as to what was going on.
“It’s just electricity, everyone's been through it ... it hurts for a second," the officer is heard saying.
Castro-Reyes recently filed a lawsuit in federal court. His lawyer, Michael Pizzi, alleges police entered the family’s home illegally, used excessive force, and violated the man’s civil rights.
"A family cried out for help for their teenage child, and instead of bringing counselors, and instead of helping him, they brought stun guns and clenched fists, and punches to the face," Pizzi said.
Shortly after this happened, the Opa-locka city manager sent NBC 6 a statement saying Castro-Reyes was on narcotics and that officers were injured, and that the city did open an investigation.
"At no time was he a threat to these police officers," Pizzi said. "There were about a dozen police officers there. There’s absolutely no justification for what they did. The administrative review was a joke."
Pizzi says Castro-Reyes has been impacted by the officer’s actions.
"I can’t move my shoulder. I heard it hurt — every time — every night," Castro-Reyes said.
NBC 6 reached out to the city manager and city attorney on Thursday to see if they had any comment on the allegations Casto-Reyes is making and updates on the probe into his arrest. As of yet, we have not gotten a response.