Police Abuse

Chief Calls Police Beating in California Caught on Video 'Horrific' Only Without Context

Horrific, inflammatory, justified

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via KSBW

Police in Salinas, Caliornia, said they were called about 28-year-old Jose Velasco when he allegedly started running through traffic and jumping on cars. When cops arrived, they say Velasco was assaulting his mother (he allegedly slammed her to the ground) and "violently resisting arrest."

According to police, that's the set up for this video depicting police violence:

"The video alone is horrific and inflammatory," the police chief, Kelly McMillin, told the local NBC affiliate. "Anybody who looks at that video without context would have concerns, because it looks terrible."

But there's a big but from McMillin: "If people watch this video and get upset because they believe that the police were beating up a homeless guy, I would argue that they are misinformed," he told the NBC affiliate. "This was a very violent man beating a woman in a public street, tearing weapons from police officers' belts, trying to bite them, trying to headbutt them."

McMillin claimed Velasco admitted to using meth and drinking alcohol that day, which the chief said contributed, along with Velasco's mental illness, to a "recipe for disaster." McMillin even suggested the meth made Velasco "incredibly strong." But there's actually no empirical evidence to suggest even long term use of meth makes people more threatening to others.

Velasco was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, assault on an officer causing injury, resisting arrest, and violating parole. There have been no reported suspensions and no report of an investigation into the video.

The public employee rules in California, going back to 1913, make it almost impossible for local departments to dismiss problem cops whose violent tendencies may pose a threat to others without a long process of appeal during which that cop continues to cost the city money to employ. That's a "recipe for disaster" too. Whether or not the officers' actions in the video were justified or not, the history of the inability to discipline cops in California who make bad decisions about using force erodes any trust that could exist about cops making the right decisions about using force.

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  1. Did the heroes go home safely to their families? Because that’s all that matters.

  2. Slightly surprised the DA didn’t issue a subpoena to the NBC affiliate forcing them to disclose the name of the person who took the cell phone video. You know, because they are clearly the greater evil here for violating the California hands-free statutes.

    1. That sounds like a threat to me Fishy.

      1. *holds up flippers in non-threatening manner and slowly swims away from all means of commenting on issues of public interest*

  3. “…from McMillin: “If people watch this video and get upset because they believe that the police were beating up a homeless guy, I would argue that they are misinformed,” he told the NBC affiliate. “This was a very violent man beating a woman in a public street, tearing weapons from police officers’ belts, trying to bite them, trying to headbutt them.”

    I am gonna hold off on this one until I know more.

    1. I’d like to know what happened prior but I still don’t understand the need to just beat on the guy with your baton when he’s already on the ground. Is it somehow against protocol for two large cops to simply physically restrain a suspect and put him in cuffs? “Swingy” looked to be pushing a solid 270. If you aren’t gonna use that weight to your advantage you’d think the department would get him on a treadmill.

      What “Swingy 2” is doing seems utterly beyond the pale though.

      1. Ya, the guy that arrives at 0:27 runs over with his nightstick in hand like a fat kid at a pinata party. Un-fucking-hinged. He proceeds to mercilessly beat a man who appears to be already well incapacitated and in the process of being effectively restrained.

  4. Well, I mean sure. If you watch the objective video, this looks good. But the police say they did nothing wrong, and they’re always right.

  5. Compared to a lot of videos I have recently watched this one looks pretty tame. The first cop swinging the baton seems fairly justified. It is the second cop who looks pretty bad. What the fuck is he doing? Swinging at the guys hands?

  6. Police in Salinas, California, said they were called about 28-year-old Jose Velasco when he allegedly started running through traffic and jumping on cars. When cops arrived, they say Velasco was assaulting his mother (he allegedly slammed her to the ground) and “violently resisting arrest.”

    Likewise I don’t think we should jump to conclusions on this one, especially if he was assaulting someone.

  7. Context my aunt’s fanny. There is no context that justifies Mr. Bluegloves behavior. He is clearly trying to mete out punishment and cause as much harm as he can – he is in no way attempting to assist in the arrest of a violent and resisting suspect.

    When the subject is fully restrained on the ground and the other officers are attempting to get him handcuffed, Mr. Bluegloves is dancing around looking for openings to swing his stick with every ounce of force he can muster. He is not only not helping, he is actively interfering with the other officers attempts to get the suspect under control – all while risking serious injury and death of the suspect.

    If those blows were to the head he should be up on attempted murder – first degree. If he was truly hitting the guys hands while he was being held down as it appears, he should also be up on charges for torture, mayhem and whatever they use in that jurisdiction for attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

    Mr. McMillin should be out on his ear as well, for supporting such actions. Supporting your guys is one thing, but if you are in charge and you can look at that behavior and think “yup, looks good to me” then you don’t need to be in charge.

    1. When the subject is fully restrained on the ground and the other officers are attempting to get him handcuffed, Mr. Bluegloves is dancing around looking for openings to swing his stick with every ounce of force he can muster.

      Indeed. His pose is that of someone attempting to hit the bell at one of those county fair strength measurement thingies.

    2. two by two, hands of blue

  8. Street Justice, starring Carl Weathers.

  9. Velasco admitted to using meth and drinking alcohol that day

    And the point is …?

    1. Umm… no one’s ever acted violently because of their use of alcohol? I’m sure that we all know at least a few folks who become violent drunks. So, one’s BAC status can clearly be important to their demeanor and to their actions. I know much less about meth, having little experience with meth heads.

      I disagree with the seemingly extreme use of force by at least the one officer here. But it’s absurd to claim that a person’s use of substances is completely irrelevant.

  10. ‘STOP RESISTING.”

  11. “But there’s actually no empirical evidence to suggest even long term use of meth makes people more threatening to others.”

    That could be technically true, but it’s totally misleading. It may not be the actual meth that causes people to become psychotic, but lack of sleep. I’ve seen meth-heads stay away for weeks at a time.

  12. meth is an amphetamine, it makes people more energetic and focused. There is a reason it is issued to troops during combat. An individual on amphetamines is a more formidable opponent , and that may manifest itself as increased strength. Prolonged amphetamine use is detrimental resulting in loss of muscle and mental problems.

  13. “Velasco was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, assault on an officer causing injury, resisting arrest, and violating parole”
    If he was assaulting a woman, where are the charges? All charges seem to relate to the police.

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