WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida police officer has been arrested, accused of betraying the badge years after, authorities said, he was caught on camera dragging a young man out of his home.
On Monday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Opa-Locka Police Lt. Sergio Miguel Perez.
The 35-year-old was under investigation by the FDLE since June 2022 after newly appointed Opa-Locka Police Chief Scott Israel asked to review an allegation against Perez of excessive force from a September 2020 incident, according to the arrest form.
It involved body camera footage of Perez and other officers using a Taser on 19-year-old Jafet Castro before dragging him out of his home.
Agents found that Perez intentionally struck the victim multiple times in the head.
Family members had told officers they had tied up Castro because he was acting irrationally.
Once officers arrived, the situation intensified. The bodycam video shows the victim getting punched and dragged out of his home.
Attorney Michael Pizzi is representing Castro’s family. He said that their civil rights have been violated and are suing the City of Opa-Locka in federal court.
“Why in the world does the city of Opa-Locka have someone like Mr. Perez in a position to have a badge, a gun, a firearm and a stun gun to be in a position of authority to brutalize and stun gun, and then beat up a helpless and mentally challenged teenager?” said Pizzi.
Castro was later Baker Acted.
This is not the first time Perez has garnered headlines. He has been connected to another incident that resulted in him being fired from the force for his role in a fatal wrong-way chase on Interstate 95 in April of 2013 that killed four tourists. He was later rehired by the department.
Seven years later, according to the arrest form, “The camera captured Lt. Perez as he used his left arm/hand and delivered three closed hammer fist strikes to the head/facial area of the victim.”
Perez was the only law enforcement officer at the scene to physically strike Castro.
He was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery. He did sign a Promise to Appear and was released on his own recognizance, which is common with misdemeanor offenses.
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