Nearly 100 people gathered yesterday in support of Overbrook's Askia Sabur, whose violent confrontation with a Philadelphia police officer was caught on tape.
The group convened on Lansdowne Avenue near Allison Street, in Overbrook, to demand better treatment from police and to call for neighborhood unity.
"We want to be respected as human beings," said one of the organizers who went by the name Brother Tommy.
The group of protesters will continue to gather on the corner this week, and also demonstrate at the 19th District headquarters, at 61st and Thompson streets, against the alleged beating .
"Everybody's motivated," said Sabur's sister Naimah Wilson, referring to the incident involving the 29-year-old that took place earlier this month and was partially captured in a video posted to YouTube. "Every time I go to sleep I see a baton hitting my son's head," said Sabur's father, Abdus, pointing to dried bloodstains on the sidewalk where Askia had bled.
Sabur was left with a fractured left arm, a gash at the back of his head and a sore back.
Police say that Sabur assaulted two police officers outside a Chinese restaurant and tried to take one of their guns.
He faces charges including aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
The Overbook residents weren't the only Philadelphians complaining of alleged police misconduct yesterday. Residents of Dauphin Street near Hancock, in Kensington, said that they're terrified of leaving their homes because a team of rogue 26th District cops have been harassing them over the last few days.
"I really feel like someone's going to get killed," said one Kensington resident, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation, after witnesses said that several cops cracked down on residents yesterday.
About 4 p.m., she said, she watched a police officer swing a baton at one of her neighbors so hard, that when he missed, it left a golf-ball-sized dent in her car.
When she complained about the damage, another officer allegedly pointed a Taser at her face and called her a "bitch," and told her to get "the cockroaches to fix it," referring to nearby residents.
Residents said they watched in disbelief as several officers pounced on a 16-year-old so hard that neighbors said his leg snapped back.
There has been tension bubbling between 26th District cops and residents for some time, many said, but it all came to a head on Friday when a teen threw a brick at an officer who residents say was assaulting another youth.
The lone cop arrived in a police cruiser and began to frisk a teen, who ran off. Baton in hand, the officer chased him and started beating him with the stick, witnesses said. Residents screamed for the officer to cease his assault, and when he didn't the youth threw a brick, striking the officer on his side.
Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said he could not provide information about the situation.
A 26th District supervisor said that the allegations are false, but wouldn't comment further.