Opa-Locka

New Body Cam Video Shows Opa-locka Police Encounter; City Says Probe Cleared Cops

Family of 19-year-old man said officers had gone too far with use of force

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Opa-locka Police released body camera footage Thursday of a September encounter with a 19-year-old man that they say defends their officers' actions.

Family members had called police last month to report that the man, Jasef Castro-Reyes, was acting erratic and violent.

The body camera footage released Thursday showed that when officers arrived at his apartment, Castro-Reyes had been tied with wire and extension cables by his family members.

In a lengthy statement, Opa-locka City Manager John Pate said Castro-Reyes was combative and his resistance indicated that he was on drugs like Flakka or PCP.

The footage showed officers trying to handcuff Castro-Reyes before they used a Taser on him multiple times. Officers were also filmed dragging Castro-Reyes down some stairs, before he was eventually taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

At one point, one officer was seen punching Castor-Reyes while another officer disagrees with that tactic.

Police have released body camera video showing the arrest of Jasef Castro-Reyes in Opa-Locka. (Warning: Video contains graphic imagery and language. Viewer discretion is advised.)

The city on Thursday also released photos showing officers' injured eyes and hands from the incident. Officials said drug paraphernalia was found in the apartment.

Castro-Reyes' family and the family's attorney previously said officers took things too far with their use of force.

"This is a tragic case of a mentally ill teenager calling for help and getting treated very brutally," Michael Pizzi, the family's attorney, said in an interview with NBC 6 earlier this month.

In his statement, Pate said he ordered an administrative review that found the officers were in compliance with departmental policy.

"Officers were eventually able to restrain the suspect and transport him to the hospital where he was treated and doctors determined that he was in fact under the influence of dangerous drugs. During our efforts to control, restrain and subdue the Mr. Castro, several officers sustained injuries," Pate said. "The administrative review has concluded that all police officers and supervisors on the scene of this unfortunate event acted within departmental policy and the law while carrying out their duties. There is no evidence to support the salacious and unfounded allegations and personal attacks launched by Mr. Pizzi against our officers."

Pizzi said the family was planning to file a lawsuit against the city and police department.

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