Barstow cop caught on camera beating unarmed Black man during arrest accused of excessive force

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Barstow cop accused of excessive force

The police officer was seen on camera beating an unarmed Black man during an arrest.

Police in Barstow say what happened over on Main Street Friday was the result of a suspect resisting arrest, but to the woman who shot the video you're about to watch, it was more like a case of excessive force.

Melissa Navarrete was sitting in a restaurant with a friend when they saw through a window an officer using a baton on a 43-year-old Barstow resident who police would later publicly identify Gary Christian. 

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She pulled out her cell phone and started recording. 

As she watched and recorded, you could hear her saying things like "Just get down! Oh my God! Oh My God!" As he watched the officer using the baton, she says she kept thinking "stop!"

She says she saw the officer swing his baton hitting Christian in the leg. After he went down, she says the officer swung three more times while Christian was on the ground. 

But, in the moments before that she says, "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."

Police in a statement told 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."

"I don’t believe that. What I saw he wasn’t resisting," Navarrete says.

She added she and her friend never saw a taser being used. 

Police say Christian was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for minor contusions and abrasions to his right leg. 

Barstow police say they are conducting what they call a comprehensive administrative investigation to see if the force used by the police officer was within policy and current law.

After being checked out at the hospital, police say Christian was booked at the detention center in Adelanto for resisting arrest and an outstanding felony warrant for a probation violation.