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Stockton police under fire for tackling teen accused of jaywalking

A video showing four Stockton police officers tackling a 16-year-old boy to the ground for allegedly jaywalking is drawing public outrage and concerns about excessive force.

The nearly 2½ minute video, shot by a bystander Tuesday, has sparked backlash, with many accusing the officers of using unnecessary force on the teen for a minor violation.

Hundreds of comments have been left on the Stockton Police Department’s Facebook page, condemning the officers’ actions.

“This is appalling abuse of authority and assault. This officer needs to be fired for what he did to this defenseless child for jaywalking which is a minor violation which is never enforced,” Phyllis Tabron commented.

Edgar Avendaño, who posted the video to Facebook, said the teen was stopped for jaywalking after he stepped out of a bus Tuesday morning near the San Joaquin Downtown Transit Center and was standing 2 feet away from the sidewalk.

“The cop was telling him to take a sit but the teen kept walking to his bus but the cop kept grabbing his arm and the kid took off the cop's hand off his arm so the cop took out his baton and that's when I started recording because everything happened too quick,” Avendaño wrote on Facebook. “He didn't have to hit the kid with the baton and no need to call about 20 cops.”

The video shows the teen and an officer struggling near the bus stop as a crowd of people watch. The teen was seated in a raised planter as the officer used a baton to hold him down and then used it to strike him twice in the face. After he was struck in the face, the teen shielded his face and covered it for most of the ordeal.

The officer repeatedly says, “Stop resisting” as the boy says “get off.”

A woman screams at the officer, “Can you get off of him? He’s just a kid.”

The officer ordered the teen to turn around, but the teen continued to face him.

More than a minute later, three other officers arrived and helped the officer tackle the teen.

Meanwhile, the woman continues to scream, “He’s just a child.”

Department spokesman Officer Joseph Silva said the officer, who is assigned to the transit center, told the 16-year-old boy to move from the bus-only lane, but he refused and cursed.

The officer tried to detain the boy but was pushed away, he said. Silva said the boy tried to grab the officer’s baton, so the officer had to use control tactics to retain his weapon.

“As law enforcement officers, we cannot allow anybody to take our weapons from us for the safety of the public,” he said. The officer called for backup twice because a large crowd of people were gathering, Silva said.

During the struggle, the officer’s body camera was knocked off, he said.

The boy was cited on suspicion of failing to obey a posted sign and resisting arrest. He was later released to his mother.

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

3:13 p.m.:This post has been updated to include an interview with the police spokesman.

This post was originally published at 10:24 a.m.

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