Drago acknowledged that the video is only a snapshot in time and could well be taken out of context. “The individual may have said to the detective, ‘I’m going to kill you now’ — that’s entirely possible,’’ he said.
But after Bosch grabbed Walker, the detective went too far, Drago said.
“I don’t see where this suspect is threatening in any way [at that point],’’ said Drago, a 30-year veteran of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department who served as an assistant chief and also became chief of a department near Orlando.
When grieving family members are reacting, as they often do, officers are trained to quell tensions, not to inflame them by using unnecessary force, Drago added.
“It’s the difficult line officers deal with every day — dealing with people at their worst, while being professional,’’ he said.
Saliha Nelson, vice president of a community-based organization in the neighborhood called Urgent, said the episode demonstrated a lack of compassion and understanding by police, although she said the community’s larger problem is pervasive violence.
FOP President Javier Ortiz said the video, which has no sound, does not tell the whole story.
Anthony Walker, Ortiz said, attempted to choke the officer by pulling on his necktie as Bosch held in a headlock. Then, after Walker broke free, he went into a “fighting stance,’’ holding up his fists to Bosch in a threatening manner.
“An individual crossing a police tape may be there to destroy evidence or obstruct justice,’’ Ortiz said. “In the heat of the moment our number one objective is to preserve the scene in order to bring justice to the deceased and his family.’’
Miami Herald staff writer Jacqueline Charles contributed to this report.