The Stockton Police Department (SPD) is under fire for using excessive force against a black teenager. On Tuesday, a sobbing 16-year-old boy was hit with a baton by a cop and then forcefully arrested by three additional officers, after one of them saw him jaywalking.
In a video circulated shortly after the arrest, an unnamed officer stands above the teenager, pressing a baton against him, as the boy screams “get off me.” When the teen tries to push the baton away, saying “get the fuck off me,” the officer hits him twice with the baton and tells him to get on the ground. Seconds later, the officer calls for back-up and four officers tackle the child to the ground, handcuffing him.
According to SPD officer and spokesman Joe Silva, the teenager was first approached by the officer in the video for walking in a bus-only lane. Physical force was used because the boy tried to grab the baton and pushed the officer’s body camera.
Edgar Avedano, who watched the incident unfold and uploaded a video of the interaction on Facebook, tells a different story.
“The kid got stopped for ‘jaywalking’ when he barely stepped out of the bus he was 2 feet away from the sidewalk when the cop stopped him for ‘jaywalking’. The cop was telling him to take a sit but the teen kept walking to his bus but the cop kept grabbing his arm & the kid took off the cop’s hand off his arm so the cop took out his baton & that’s when I started recording because everything happened too quick,” he wrote in an accompanying Facebook post. “He didn’t have to hit the kid with the baton & no need to call about 20 cops. And as you can see his body cam is on the floor. Smh” (sic)
In the video, an unidentified woman repeatedly yells, “he’s just a kid,” and eventually tells the boy to “just stay right there before they…shoot you or some shit.”
Watch it here:
The boy’s family has since filed an official complaint, but the police department maintains the officers’ actions were justified. Responding to growing backlash, Silva said, “If everyone would just learn to comply with the lawful orders from police officers and not try to hold or grab any of our weapons force would never have to be used.”
Stockton police have previously drawn criticism for their aggressive policing tactics. In a class action lawsuit filed last week, low-income tenants allege officers waged illegal apartment raids, under the guise of conducting standard inspections. Cops burst into homes with little to no warning, ransacked people’s belongings, and threatened to make tenants homeless if they did not comply.