- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

SALINAS, Calif. (AP) - Officials at a central California police department are reviewing the violent arrest of a man who was repeatedly struck with batons during a struggle with officers.

Officials will examine the officers’ use of force during the arrest of Jose Velasco, 28, and determine whether their actions were justified, Salinas police spokesman Spencer Critchley said Sunday.

According to police, officers responded to reports Friday of a man screaming, running into traffic, jumping on cars and trying to shove a woman, who turned out to his mother, onto a busy road. Two officers who first got to the scene saw Velasco slam his mother onto the pavement. They tried to get him away from the woman but he resisted, fought back and grabbed an officer’s stun gun from its holster.

Critchley said the officers used the batons after efforts to subdue him with a stun gun failed.

“As other officers arrived on scene, Velasco continued to struggle and resist, eventually needing 5 officers and the use of batons to control and place him into handcuff,” a police statement said.

A witness video showed several officers repeatedly hitting Velasco with batons as he was being restrained on the ground.

“In all these cases of course it’s upsetting to use force like this,” Critchley said. “What determines use of force is the immediate behavior in the present.”

“You only use force to stop the immediate threat,” he said.

Velasco was taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment of his injuries, and during the trip he grabbed a paramedic on the upper thigh and tried to bite an officer riding in in the ambulance, Cmdr. Sheldon Bryan.

Velasco was released from the hospital Saturday and booked for investigation of several charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest, threatening an officer and violating parole, Bryan said.

He was being held without bail.

Velasco was suspected to be under the influence of methamphetamine, Bryan said, though he noted that investigators were awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

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