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Eyewitness Backs Up Police after Beating of Suspect Caught on Video

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A witness has come forward in the case of Jose Velasco, arrested for violating his parole when he had an altercation with his mother in the middle of traffic, to support the claims of police that Velasco intended to kill his mother.

Officers arrived after multiple 911 calls were made; the police ultimately subdued and arrested Velasco. Protests against supposed police brutality surfaced after video of the incident went public.

Rita Acosta, Velasco’s mother, interviewed by KSBW outside the courthouse where Velasco was held, yelled, “My son is screaming for help. Is he touching me? Yes. “Mom! Mom! Mom!” Yes. That’s holding me. That’s touching me. That’s touching me.” She said of the police, “They act like they only came because people called, that somebody was getting beat. Do I look beat up? Say that my son tried killing me? They’re killing me by saying stuff about my son. I called for help.”

But an eyewitness to the whole incident differed, telling KSMW that Velasco attempted to throw his mother into incoming traffic. She asserted that, before police arrived and had their confrontation with Velasco, he was running in and out of traffic, jumping on cars and pounding his chest. Then his mother came and the situation escalated. She stated, “They embrace and he starts throwing her onto traffic. They struggle, she kind of gets back this way and again he throws her into traffic. Somehow whether he slams her down or she falls, she’s on the ground and he’s still trying to drag her onto incoming traffic.”

Asked whether police were within their rights to have acted the way they did, the witness replied, “Yes, they were. They had tried to subdue him; they tried to separate him several times; they tried to control him. He was being very unresponsive. What was next? A bullet?”

The witness stated that Velasco was violent and looked as if he was attempting to kill his mother. Police reported Velasco admitted drinking alcohol and using methamphetamine the day of the incident. He would not obey police officers and grabbed an officer’s taser. He was impervious when tased by police, and so they used batons to force him into handcuffs.

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin had said, “The video alone is horrific and inflammatory. Anybody who looks at that video without context would have concerns, because it looks terrible,” adding, “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. 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.”

Sabrina Velasco, Velasco’s sister, sobbed, “We are not saying my brother is an angel in any shape or form. What we are saying is that he did not deserve that beating. And that’s what we are standing up for.”

Velaso pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer three years ago.


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