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‘I Don’t Believe That’: California Bystander Catches Cop On Camera Swinging Baton ‘Like Bat,’ Beating Unarmed Black Man; Police Claim It Was Warranted

A California woman was in shock after she witnessed an unarmed Black man being hit repeatedly with a baton by an officer.

Melissa Navarrete said she was sitting with a friend at a restaurant on Friday, and they witnessed an officer beating an unarmed Black man with a baton in Barstow, California. She felt something was wrong and pulled out her cellphone to record the incident.

Gary Christian being arrested by Barstow Police Department (left); A Barstow Police Department vehicle at the scene of a crime. (Photos: Screenshots from Fox 11 New Youtube channel and Barstow Police Department’s Twitter page)

“We’d see in the middle of the street a cop with a baton holding it like a bat swinging at this guy. The guy had his hands up, and he’s moving backward like he’s not trying to fight the cop. He’s not trying to resist anything… he’s just moving and the cop is just swinging and swinging,” Navarrete told Fox 11 News.

Related: ‘They Messed Me Up Real Good’: Black Man Suffers Broken Nose, Jaw and Cheekbones After Indiana Police Stop; Cops Claim He Fell and Hit His Face

The unarmed Black man would be later identified as 43-year-old Gary Christian.

The video shows the officer swinging the baton toward Christian as he is backing away. The officer then strikes Christian, and he stumbles to the ground. The officer hits Christian more as he lay on the ground with his hands up, and two more officers appear in the video. They all surround Christian and eventually placed him under arrest.

As Navarrete recorded, she was overheard in the background saying things like “Just get down! Oh my God! Oh My God!” as she pleaded for the officers to stop hitting him with the baton.

Barstow Police Department said in a statement on Facebook that they were aware a resident recorded the incident and they would conduct their own investigation.

Barstow Police Department also sent the following statement to Fox 11:

“Christian refused to comply with an officer’s orders and physically assaulted the officer; The officer immediately deployed his taser which was ineffective. Christian then physically assaulted the officer a second timer causing the officer to deploy his baton, the officer struck Christian with his baton while attempting to arrest him.”

Navarrete told Fox 11 that she and her friend didn’t see a Taser being used.

“I don’t believe that. What I saw, he wasn’t resisting,” Navarrete said to Fox 11.

Police said that Christian was wanted for an outstanding felony and a no-bail probation violation warrant.

Christian was reportedly taken to a hospital, where he was treated for minor contusions and abrasions to his right leg, according to Barstow Police. He was booked at a detention center in Adelanto for resisting arrest and an outstanding felony warrant for violating probation. He has two court dates set for May 2 and May 3.

What people are saying

3 thoughts on “‘I Don’t Believe That’: California Bystander Catches Cop On Camera Swinging Baton ‘Like Bat,’ Beating Unarmed Black Man; Police Claim It Was Warranted

  1. Sistergirl says:

    “If you want to kill someone or just beat them, become a police officer”! They do what they want and then try blaming you, lying about resistance. From what I saw on video, he was not resisting!!!

  2. Lorece Johnson says:

    Those thug gangs with guns & badges believe they are above the law. No one is human in their eyes unless U are Caucasian. They do what they want because they know their superiors will uphold them in their wrong.

  3. Mary C. Fletcher says:

    Why do you want an opinion on why it is okay for men in badges to beat and assault citizens even when they comply. I’m just going to say until it happens to theen in badges or their loved ones, this will continue to happen and the so-called law will continue to get away with it. It’s been going on since the 1800’s when you of no color decided this is how we want it and this is how it’s going to be. The burning question, whose stopping them, whose trying to stop them. It’s sad when we all breathe the same air and walk the same earth that because there are no consequences for what you do, you feel it’s okay. Just so you know “IT IS NOT OKAY NOR IS IT LEGAL!!!!

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