NBCPhiladelphia.com, Justin Pizzi
Philadelphia police say there's more to the story of what happened before and after police are shown beating a man in West Philadelphia. Witnesses have posted their cell phone video on YouTube. Police say the man they were arresting tried to grab an officer's gun. The beating victim's attorney says that's not true.
A video uploaded to YouTube shows disturbing footage of a man on the ground being beaten by a Philadelphia Police officer, while other officers try to hold the man down.
The video begins with four Philadelphia police officers tackling a man on a sidewalk. As the man is on the ground, one officer in particular continues to beat the man on his head, back, arms and chest repeatedly with a metal-looking police baton.
The man being beaten, 29-year-old Askia Sabur, was standing outside a Chinese restaurant when police pulled up and asked him for his ID, according to Sabur’s attorney Evan Hughs. When Sabur turned to walk back into the Chinese restaurant, the police jumped out of the car and tackled him, Hughs told NBC Philadelphia.
Police tell NBC Philadelphia that Sabur was blocking the store's doorway and when they asked him to move, he refused and hit one of the officers.
“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” Sabur says repeatedly in the video.
At first friends yell at Sabur in the video to stop resisting the police, even though he’s already on the ground. But as the officer continues to beat Sabur, the people watching yell for the officer to stop.
“Yo, he’s not fighting! He’s not even fighting!” voices from the crowd shout.
The beating lasts for the duration of the 2-minute and 29-second video. At one point the officer pulls back and blood is visible on his shirt.
According to Hughes, the incident happened in the 19th police district. Sabur’s sister, Naimah Wilson, told NBC Philadelphia that it happened on Sept. 3 at about 9 p.m..
Police brought Sabur to Mercy Hospital after the incident, where he was treated for head trauma and a fractured left arm, according to Wilson. Wilson said that her brother was simply talking to men in the neighborhood while waiting for his Chinese food.
Now, Sabur is charged with aggravated assault, robbery and attempting to take an officer's equipment, firearm, but internal affairs is investigating the case to see if the use of force was within police guidelines, according to Philadelphia Police spokesperson Lt. Frank Vanore.
“There’s things that happen before the video and obviously things that happen after and we’ll have to get the whole picture together,” says Vanore.