The day after a video surfaced showing a police officer whacking away at a West Philadelphia man outside a Chinese takeout restaurant, angry neighborhood residents said that the cop has a reputation for terrorizing the community.
The bald, stocky officer - dubbed "Mickey Mouse" by some locals - is "ruthless," said a man who works at a bar across the street from where Askira Sabur's dried blood stained the sidewalk.
"I heard about his reputation, but I saw him in action that night," the man said yesterday.
According to witnesses, Sabur, 29, was waiting for his food outside the takeout spot at Lansdowne Avenue and Allison Street last Friday about 8 p.m. Two officers pulled up in their cruiser and one approached Sabur.
Jamil Stroman, 40, who works at a barbershop next to the takeout and was outside with Sabur, said that the officer told Sabur, "Give me my street," meaning "clear the corner."
After Sabur told the cop, whose identity is unknown, that he was waiting for food, he was instructed to go inside, Stroman said.
Sabur told the officer that it was too hot inside and that he had to tend to his bike. The officer then asked Sabur for identification, and as he reached into his back pocket, witnesses said, the cop grabbed him from behind and the two fell to the ground.
Kenneth, who did not want his last name used but saw the confrontation, began recording the incident. The video begins with Sabur and the officer on the ground and shows the cop's partner rushing over to handcuff Sabur.
The first cop gets up and strikes Sabur with his baton several times over the next few minutes. Sabur, who is sitting, has his arms extended and one wrist is cuffed. At one point, the cop pulls out his handgun, points it at the crowd, then quickly reholsters it.
Sabur was left with a fractured left arm, a gash at the back of his head and a sore back.
"It could have been anybody," said Kenneth, a Marine veteran who posted his cell-phone footage on YouTube. "I'm seeing the blood shooting from his head. The blood is all over them and they kept hitting this guy."
"He's a nasty cop," said Doris Ginor, who lives in the neighborhood and witnessed the incident. "He harasses everybody."
Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore would not identify the officer and said that he did not have his history available.
Vanore said that Sabur was the one who knocked the officer to the ground and that he bit another officer and tried to take the first officer's gun.
The officer who struck Sabur is still on active duty, but Internal Affairs is investigating the incident, Vanore said.
Sabur faces charges including aggravated assault and resisting arrest. Evan Hughes, Sabur's attorney, said that Sabur also was charged with robbery, reportedly because of the accusation that Sabur tried to take the officer's gun.
"It's ridiculous," Hughes said. "They're throwing anything at the wall to try and justify it. Nothing can justify that. He was pushed on top of the officer and he was sandwiched between them while he was hit with a metal rod."
"He didn't deserve this," Sabur's wife, Akisha Holland, 30, said outside of her home on Conestoga Street near Media.
Sabur, a West Philly artist with murals around the city, "is the nicest man I have ever met," Holland said. "I fear for the lives of some of our black men, especially my husband."