911 calls released in brutal Salinas police beating of man
SALINAS (KTVU) - The 911 calls surrounding a controversial video showing several police officers repeatedly beating a man with batons was released Thursday.
The incident occurred in Salinas. The district attorney's office is now conducting an investigation into the officers' actions.
The cell phone video captures five police officers striking a man with their batons.
At one point, one officer is seen repeatedly beating the suspect after the man appears to be subdued.
However, what you don't see or hear are frantic calls to police describing the man running, screaming and dragging a woman into traffic.
"Oh my gosh, he threw her down," said one caller. "He's throwing her into traffic."
On Friday, police arrested 28-year-old Jose Velasco after Velasco was reportedly assaulting his mother who called police for help.
"Something's wrong with him," said Velasco's mother.
Throughout the four minute call, the mother is heard hysterically screaming, police hollering and the suspect constantly whaling.
Toxicology reports reveal Velasco was under the influence of methamphetamine. He is known to have gang ties and a prior criminal history. Doctors diagnosed him with drug-induced psychotic disorder. One of the callers noted he was having an episode.
"I had an emotional response to that video, how can you not have an emotional response," said Salinas Police Chief McMillin. "But I've been in this business long enough to know that is but a fraction of the story."
Police said attempts with Tasers were unsuccessful. Three of the officers had crisis intervention training.
Velasco's family is now enlisting the help of Oakland attorney John Burris who likened this case to the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles.
"It doesn't matter what happened beforehand," said Burris. "Each individual blow whether it's with the batons, with the fists, the question is whether they are justified. It appears in the video, none of them are."
The suspect suffered a fractured leg and is currently in jail. The last officer seen repeatedly hitting the suspect has been assigned to desk duty. The other officers are actively working patrol.