California Police Under Investigation After Beating Of Suspect Caught On Videotape

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 11.43.07 PMThere is another controversy over the level of force used in an arrest. The latest such controversy comes from Salinas California where police are investigating a new videotape and witness complaints about a beating given to a mentally ill who was being arrested after shoving his mother into a busy street. While 28-year-old Jose Velasco is shown trying to rise at one point, police below are shown beating him with batons and shooting him with Tasers while he is on the ground.

Officers said that they found Velasco screaming, running into traffic, jumping on cars, and attacking his mother. Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin insisted that Velasco was “a violent man assaulting his own mother” but admitted that the videotape raised serious concerns about the police response.

The police stated that when officers responded, they “saw Jose Velasco slamming the female’s body into the pavement of the northbound lane of North Main Street while heavy traffic was passing by. As the officers tried to get Velasco off of his mother by pulling him away, Velasco began to violently resist and attacked the officers.” Thet would certainly justify the use of force in my view. There is a danger in viewing such scenes with the benefit of hindsight and distance. Officers often have to act quickly and, when an individual is clearly a danger to himself and others, they often have to use force. The problem here is not necessarily the force initially used but the extent and the length of time involved in the use the use of force. That concern is particularly great with regard to the second officer who arrives and continues to beat Velasco with a baton as other officers are sitting on him or holding him.

The videotape is another example of the value of videotape in the proving of police abuse. We have been following the continuing abuse of citizens who are detained or arrested for filming police in public. Despite consistent rulings upholding the right of citizens to film police in public, such abuses continue as well as efforts to curtail this right.

What do you think?

Source: NBC

92 thoughts on “California Police Under Investigation After Beating Of Suspect Caught On Videotape”

  1. I was a psych tech in an acute psychiatric facility. We had to take down and restrain violent, psychotic people. We did not have guns, tasers or batons. No patient or staff was ever seriously injured (strains sometimes). There is a premise described by some above that it is acceptable to beat someone violently with a baton until they stop moving. This does not seem acceptable behavior to me.

    Any four of our staff could take down any individual of any size and put them into restraints. I have never understood the police training, seemingly across departments, that trains officers in the use of the techniques we see in this video. I understand that things are different when the suspect has a weapon, but this was clearly about controlling an out of control individual to prevent harm to others. Batons and multiple strikes do not seem necessary to achieve this goal.

    1. Michael Donner – I applied for a job at a school that worked with violent youth. The staff were required to learn some kind of “basket takedown” I may have the name wrong. It has been a lot of years. I can see teaching every cop in the US to do this take down, but my memory is that it requires backup.

  2. Paul

    Get a grip.

    Inga – I, personally, will make sure you never forget having posted the wrong photo!!!

    Inga – as a teacher I never harped on my students past mistakes. The important thing was to move on. You have never learned that lesson.

    1. issac – if you live in the western states you know that sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. You missed Inga’s retort in between my two comments.

  3. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985)[1], was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may use deadly force only to prevent escape if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

  4. @KarenS

    DBQ was right. I was being sarcastic about needing to know Jose’s race. I didn’t realize that I.Annie had responded, but I am not surprised that she screwed up on the picture. As I have noted before, she does not tend to read her own links. And has an aversion to answering direct questions. At least this time she admitted to putting up the wrong picture, sooo maybe that is her first baby step in the direction of becoming an honest commenter. (A little Thorazine wouldn’t hurt her, either.) 🙂

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. Here are the statements that I have been accused of “mischaracterizing”:

    She posted a picture of Kelly Thomas, dead from his injuries, and wrote, “Maybe this will help Squeeky identify his race.”

    And then later she wrote, “Karen this guy was beaten nearly or AS bad as Kelly Thomas. Have you not read or heard about the extent of Velasco’s injuries? Karen you insulate yourself from some realities quite well, but there are people here that won’t let you get away with the whitewashing.”

    And then she wrote, “He had multiple injuries including a broken leg. I’m trying to find more details on the extent of his injuries. His family has expressed outrage at how he was beaten.”

    I have mischaracterized nothing. This was wrong and irresponsible. And it is this kind of misinformation that takes on a life of its own and becomes accepted facts to those who rush to judgement without having all the facts.

    The public has been burned so many times by this merry-go-round, which is exactly why I now wait for an investigation and release of evidence before I will express anything other than concern.

  6. Karen, you so want us to just dismiss this, ain’t gonna happen. We get to comment on it and express our opinions and criticisms. First Amendment, I’m sure you’ve heard of it.

  7. So this was just like the Kelly Thomas beating except it was completely different.

    What does Velasco’s family say about his beating a paramedic and another officer in the ambulance?

  8. I agree with Darren’s assessment:
    Again, we do not have all the facts here but in my view the actions of the second officer are of concern and we will await the full investigation’s findings.”

  9. His poor mother, she probably didn’t expect to see her son beaten like some dog in the street.

  10. “”My mother called the police for help, not to witness her son be beat & when she was crying out to the officers that his state of mind wasn’t right in the video you can see the officer point to her telling her to stay back…. I wish they would print the entire story.””

    From the article @2:52 PM.

  11. So even though someone claimed he was beaten almost as badly as Kelly Thomas, who was beaten to death, she thinks he broke his leg and is still looking for an actual list of injuries?

    Another difference with Kelly Thomas is that Kelly struggled because he was panicking. He didn’t attack or hurt anyone. He just cried for his dad. Velasco looked like he was trying to murder his mom, fought the cops, and beat a paramedic and another cop in the ambulance until he was sedated at the hospital.

    That is exactly the kind of irresponsible gossip that incites riots.

    His actual injuries ARE relevant to the investigation. The drugs he was on are also relevant. Remember when PCP would make people go so crazy nothing would stop them?

    We need all the facts so we can decide what needs to be done.

  12. Paul, ooooo, I’m shakin’ in my boots, lol. I have MORE than enough examples of your ‘habitual wrongness’ to counter with.

    1. Inga – as a teacher I never harped on my students past mistakes. The important thing was to move on. You have never learned that lesson.


    “The video drew a comment on the The Californian’s Facebook page from a woman who said she is Velasco’s sister, Isabel Loya.

    “I’d like to say my brother’s situation was handled correctly up (until) the officer with the purple gloves arrives & striked him repeatedly after he was already down … He was released to jail with over 100 staples in his head, a cast on his leg … & numerous other marks. As for my mother she is perfectly fine, zero injuries.””

  14. If he grabbed a taser then they would be justified in shooting him with a taser or a 357 magnum pistol. A taser is a lethal weapon. In his hands he is posing lethal force and jeopardy to others. It is ok to shoot him. Is it ok to assault him with batons? If he is still going for a gun or taser in his struggles, then it is. He posed a lethal threat to others under the Supreme Court decision discussed on this blog before. If he was running away after this melee and refused to halt they would be justified in using lethal force to stop him because he posed a serious threat of harm to others. Now, if he was completely subdued and not grabbing for the gun or taser then a slam to the head with a baton would be excessive. Next time they should draw guns on him and tell him to lay down and if he does not then just shoot him.

  15. Inga. Do you have ANY links to your statements about Velasco’s injuries? ANY?

    I wonder if his mother, whom he was trying to kill is outraged? Maybe the cops should have just let him kill her and be done with the whole famdamnly.

  16. Jose Velasco’s was obviously not beaten about the head, if he was, he probably wouldn’t have survived either. He had multiple injuries including a broken leg. I’m trying to find more details on the extent of his injuries. His family has expressed outrage at how he was beaten.

  17. I might also add that dealing with the violently mentally ill is one of the most dangerous aspects of the job. Couple this with the ingesting of street level drugs it can become a doubly hazardous combination.

    Certain types of mentally ill persons can possess almost super-human strength and resistance to pain and injury. They can be unpredictable and very difficult to restrain, often requiring four or five officers. Sometimes they cannot be reasoned with or talked down. They can also flash into violence at a later moment. As someone suggested above that the suspect here freaked out in the ambulance and had to be chemically sedated at hospital it does not come as a surprise to me if that was in fact the case.

    I think it is important to realize that the police and the ambulance personnel just want to go home from work uninjured; just as anyone else.

  18. Karen, I said the photo was a mistake, but of course you will mischaracterize that also. That is shameful.

    1. Inga – I, personally, will make sure you never forget having posted the wrong photo!!!

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