Salinas police beating video looks ‘horrific’ but there’s context, chief says

A video of Salinas police officers beating a man in a busy intersection is beginning to attract attention.

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin told KSBW-TV the video was “horrific and inflammatory,” and would alarm anyone who didn’t know the background.

The YouTube video filmed by a witness shows at least two Salinas police officers using batons and a Taser to beat Jose Velasco as he rolled on the ground near North Main Street and Bernal Drive. Several officials eventually arrive to the scene to help detain Velasco.

McMillin said Velasco was high on methamphetamine and had assaulted his mother just moments before the confrontation.


Officers had received a report of Velasco jumping onto cars on Main Street and screaming, police said. He reportedly tried to throw his mother into traffic and in front of cars.

She called police and told them she had tried to grab him as he ran through traffic.

When officers arrived, they saw Velasco slamming his mother into the pavement while cars drove by, police said.

The officers tried to pull him away from his mother, but he “began to violently resist and attacked the officers,” police said. He then grabbed an officer’s Taser and tore it away from his holster, they said.

Police deployed a Taser twice on Velasco without apparent effect. The struggle continued as additional officers arrived. Five officers detained him.

In the end, police said they had to use batons to handcuff him and transport him to Natividad Medical Center so he could be treated for injuries.

As they were headed to the hospital, Velasco grabbed an officer and a Salinas fire paramedic through the rails of the gurney and tried to bite them, police said, and “ultimately at the hospital, he had to be chemically restrained.”

Velasco was booked on assault with a deadly weapon, assault on an officer causing injury and resisting arrest.


McMillin told KBSW the baton is a “high level of force” for the department.

“The batons are not a great choice because they might injure people,” he said.

Velasco suffered bruises and may have a broken leg, McMillin said.

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