Phila. officers in taped arrest cannot yet testify

PHILADELPHIA - September 20, 2010

The video shows police arresting 29-year-old Askia Sabur in West Philadelphia.

Supporters of Sabur say police used excessive force during the arrest. Police say Sabur assaulted the officers in the moments before the video began.

The names of those officers have not been released.

Sabur was due in court for a preliminary hearing on Monday morning on charges that he assaulted the officers. However, that hearing was continued until October 18th.

He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and related crimes. In court on Monday Sabur's attorney said the video will exonerate his client.

The officers involved will be unable to testify until the internal affairs investigation is complete. The DA's office says that is standard procedure in cases like this.

The video shows police using their batons as they try to restrain Sabur and there is audio of him yelling that he did nothing wrong. At one point during the 2:30 video, one officer pulls out his gun while onlookers scream and yell.

Sabur's family and supporters believe the video shows a clear case of excessive force. Police say just before the person with the camera started recording, Sabor had knocked an officer to the ground and attempted to grab his gun.

By all accounts, this all began when police were trying to get Sabur and his friends to clear the sidewalk in front of a Chinese restaurant. At this point, that's the only detail police and protestors agree on.

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