When baton-wielding police began to whack Askia Sabur in front of a West Philadelphia Chinese carryout earlier this month, Kimla Robinson whipped out her cell phone to record the incident.
Moments after Robinson, 47, snapped a few shots of the chaotic scene, she claims an officer grabbed her by the ponytail, slammed her against the police cruiser and pushed her into the back seat. She said her forehead smacked into the opposite-side car door.
"I thought they were going to realize they made a mistake but that never happened," she said. Robinson was arrested for disorderly conduct stemming from the Sept. 3 incident on Lansdowne Avenue and Allison Street after, police said, the retired Philadelphia School District counselor failed to leave the scene.
She was also charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person for allegedly attempting to kick an officer in the groin after the officer said he tried to prevent her from removing her handcuffs with a key at the police station, said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore.
During her preliminary hearing yesterday, the officer said one of Robinson's wrists was cuffed to the bench, although Robinson claims both hands were cuffed behind her back. The officer was unclear as to how Robinson got a key. She denied the officer's allegations.
Robinson told the Daily News that she had begged officers to take her to the hospital because she was in pain after her arrest. She was taken to Mercy Philadelphia Hospital in West Philadelphia the day after her arrest, only after she told officers she had asthma.
Robinson said her right thumb is numb from the cuffs, and her right arm and thigh are bruised.
The hospital's medical records show that Robinson was treated for severe back pain while in police custody. (She had metal plates placed into her back after a 1991 car accident.)
Robinson said she is willing to testify for Sabur and plans to press charges against the officer who arrested her.
Family, friends and members of the Overbrook community gathered at 55th and Pine streets yesterday for Sabur's and Robinson's preliminary hearing.
The officers who arrested Sabur are under investigation by police Internal Affairs and couldn't be in court for his preliminary hearing. The hearing was postponed until next month, said Sabur's attorney, Evan Hughes.
Internal Affairs is still investigating the alleged police brutality involving Sabur. "We want to assure the public we're going to do a quality investigation to obtain the truth," said Stephen Johnson, the deputy commissioner for the office of professional responsibility.
The names of the officers have not been released by police but were made available in a filing by the state, Hughes said.
A number of complaints have been filed since 2004 against officers Donyule Williams and Jimmy Leocal, of the 19th District, but all of the cases were cleared or the complaints were unsustained or unfounded, according to police records.
Williams has been on the force for nearly eight years and has racked up eight complaints, four alleging physical abuse. Leocal, a 10-year veteran, had six complaints and at least four were for physical abuse, including one by his wife.
Leocal received a departmental violation last year for failing to properly fill out a property-receipt form after obtaining money from a suspect in an arrest.
That suspect, Emil VanOtoo, filed a complaint against both officers alleging that he was physically abused on Haverford Avenue near 58th Street after being stopped by the officers who asked him for identification.
Because of inconsistencies in his statements, Internal Affairs dropped an investigation into his claims that he had been hit with night sticks and punched in the face by one of the officers.