Police in Stockton, California, are under scrutiny after a disturbing video emerged online this week showing nine officers roughly forcing a 16-year-old black teenager to the ground.
The teenager, who has not been identified, was asked by a police officer to walk on the sidewalk, Stockton Police Officer Joseph Silva told VICE News. Bystanders in the video can be heard saying the boy was “jaywalking.”
The video of the Tuesday confrontation begins with one officer screaming for the teenager—who is sitting in the fetal position—to stop resisting arrest, as the officer presses his baton forcefully against the teenager’s legs. In the background, bystanders can be heard screaming, “He’s a goddamn kid! Get off of him.”
“He didn’t do nothing wrong,” one woman tells the officer. “That is a child who was jaywalking.”
At one point during the struggle, the officer appears to hit the boy in the face with the baton, and the boy can be heard crying. Later, eight back-up officers arrive at the scene and can be seen tackling the boy to the ground.
The video, recorded by bystander Edgar Avendaño, who uploaded it onto his Facebook page this week, describes the violent incident. Here’s an accompanying note from Avendaño’s Facebook page.
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 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
“For safety reasons, the officer told the young man to get on the sidewalk,” Silva, the Stockton police officer, told VICE News. “After the teenager refused to comply and used obscene language, the officer went over and a [sic] there was a scuffle.”
The boy’s family has filed a complaint. The police are reviewing the incident, which is customary, but an early review showed the officers’ actions were within department policy, officials have said.
As the video has gained publicity, people have flocked to the police department’s Facebook page to condemn the incident.