Opa-Locka city manager backs up police actions when teen was dragged from house

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. – The family said he’d gone crazy, possibly from drugs. The first officers inside called for rescue, but needed to restrain the man to get it.

But the assist went awry when a manic Jafet Castro-Reyes struggled for a frenzied seven minutes, according to reports.

Family, who would record on their cell phones, the rough exit of police dragging Castro-Reyes out the door, only saw the hurt.

Castro’s father doesn’t understand why police actions were cleared “as necessary.”

John Pate, Opa-Locka’s city manager said: “That’s the difference between public perception and law enforcement perception and how we work tactically.”

At Local 10′s request, Pate, a sworn officer provided back-up reasons for the tactics, which included tasering and a palm strike against a 19-year -old in mental distress. The palm strike was even questioned at the scene in real time by an officer.

You can hear someone say “no, no, don’t do that, this is a 43," we tell Pate.

“Right. Meaning don’t come in, don’t do a palm strike, it is not going to be effective,” Pate said.

Pate is currently a finalist for Milwaukee police chief. We found an interview that Pate did with that department supporting total transparency with the community regarding police use of force.

We asked him to do the same for Opa-Locka.

“We have to change the mindset of our officers, from a warrior to a guardian thought process,” Pate said

And in this situation were the officers in warrior or guardian mode?

Pate responded: “I believe they were in a warrior mode based on their training and experience, which is not a negative thing.”

The city manager said that all of the officers involved in the interaction with Castro will have to undergo some retraining. What kind of retraining? The warrior versus guardian kind of retraining, we learned.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."