'Horrific' police beating in Salinas caught on camera

Jun 9, 2015 2:15 PM by NBC News

The brutal aftermath of a violent confrontation last Friday between the police and a man in Salinas, Calif., was captured on camera, uploaded to YouTube and shows what the police chief there described as "horrific" and "inflammatory."

The video, which was shot in a shaky minute-and-a-half, does not show what caused several officers to repeatedly strike the man, Jose Velasco, 28, with batons while he writhed on the pavement in the middle of the street.

Just a few feet away, several lanes of stopped traffic watched the scene unfold; the video appeared to be shot through the rolled-down window of one of those cars.

In a press release, the Salinas Police Department said officers were called to North Main Street after Velasco was seen running through traffic and jumping on cars.

When officers arrived, Velasco was "slamming" his mother into the pavement, the release said; he "violently resisted" the officers, and attempted to grab a Taser from one of them.

Officers subsequently fired a Taser twice at Velasco, the release said, "neither having any effect on him."

Velasco's family told NBC affiliate KSBW that he is mentally ill.

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin told KSBW that the video "absolutely" concerned him. "Anybody who looks at that video without context would have concerns, because it looks terrible," he said.

But, McMillin added, Velasco was "a violent man assaulting his own mother."

On the way to the Natividad Medical Center, Velasco attempted to bite a police officer and a paramedic, the release said. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, assault on an officer causing injury and resisting arrest.

The video comes amid heightened scrutiny of excessive use of force by police and a string of other confrontations that have been caught on cellphone cameras, including the killing of Eric Garner in New York last summer and, earlier this year, Walter Scott in South Carolina.


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