Police officers in Paterson, New Jersey are being investigated for allegedly beating up a young Muslim American man before arresting him for multiple charges.
The incident, which was caught on video, occurred around 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 14, 2020, on the 1200 block of Madison Avenue, according to a police report.
Osamah Alsaidi, now 20, claims he was about to go to work when a group of officers approached and started punching him “for no reason.”
“They kept smashing my head on the ground, causing me to black out for a moment,” Alsaidi wrote in an Instagram post.
The officers reportedly responded to a call about a “suspicious” person in the area. They arrested Alsaidi and charged him with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
In their report, the officers claimed it was Alsaidi who approached them, “screaming profanities and acting belligerent causing a disturbance.” He allegedly struck one of them in the chest before trying to remove his radio.
Alsaidi denied details in the report and claimed that the assault continued on a police car after an unproductive hospital visit. After being released, he went to a hospital himself and was diagnosed with a concussion and head trauma.
“I was having migraines and was partially blind for the next couple of weeks,” Alsaidi recalled. “THE POLICE REPORT IS ALL FALSE. The video shows the truth, it shows what actually happened.”
Alsaidi has already reported the incident to Paterson’s internal affairs division, but he believes it has fallen on deaf ears.
“Two months have passed and they still haven’t done anything,” he noted. “I was 19 at the time and have no criminal record. I was humiliated and treated like an animal.”
Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale confirmed Monday the case is still under investigation. Mayor Andre Sayegh also announced the incident has been forwarded to the prosecutor’s office.
Meanwhile, a police source claimed that the video Alsaidi had posted was not the only footage of the incident, according to NJ Advance Media. They said other videos exist to support the officers’ report.
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In response to Alsaidi’s post, the New Jersey Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement calling for the “immediate termination” of the officers involved.
“The disturbing video shows two officers approach and beat the youth to the ground. The teen posed no visible threat to either officer and was not given an opportunity to comply with the officer’s orders — assuming any orders were even given,” CAIR said. “The Paterson Police Department must act swiftly to rectify this horrific situation and take actionable measures to mitigate the possibility of it ever reocurring.”
Alsaidi’s post has received nearly 20,000 likes as of this writing. Instagram users condemned the officers’ alleged actions.
“I defend and stand by the police for many reasons, but this is unacceptable! We have to call things by the right name! This was abuse of power,” one wrote. “They did wrong and they need to be accountable for their actions!”
Feature Images via Osamah Alsaidi