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New Jersey attorney general is investigating claims that police officers repeatedly punched an Arab teen without provocation


The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office is investigating after video footage shows multiple police officers assaulting a Muslim Arab American teenager.

Osamah Alsaidi, 19 at the time, was assaulted and arrested by police officers with the Paterson Police Department in New Jersey in December, his lawyer Diego Navas said in a pre-lawsuit notice of claim.

Alsaidi was walking down Madison Avenue in Paterson just after midnight December 14 when a vehicle approached him, according to video footage released by the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

In the video, two Paterson police officers are seen briefly talking to Alsaidi before grabbing him and punching him repeatedly.

The video came from a surveillance camera across the street that Navas said they were “lucky” to find.

“If it wasn’t for that camera, it’d be the word of our client against the word of the officers,” Navas said in a news conference Tuesday.

CNN reached out to the department for a statement but has not received a response.

Alsaidi, who was on his way to his 1 a.m. shift at Amazon, sustained multiple physical injuries as a result, Navas said, including head trauma, a concussion and multiple cuts and bruises, as well as anxiety, stress and depression.

A spokesperson for St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, Pamela Garretson, confirmed Alsaidi was treated and released December 14.

A police report detailing the encounter states Alsaidi approached the officers “screaming profanities and acting belligerent.” Officers ignored Alsaidi, the report says, but then Alsaidi took an “aggressive fighting stance by blading his body and clutching his fist,” before punching one officer in the chest and starting an altercation with him. The officers charged Alsaidi with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to the report.

But Alsaidi, in a Facebook post detailing the incident, claims the report is false.

“These officers came out of nowhere to block me from walking and beat me up on my own block,” he wrote Friday. “Then (one officer) assaults me at the hospital away from cameras and people to avoid witnesses. I made a complaint to Internal Affairs and two months have passed and they still haven’t done anything.”

He continued, “I was beaten up and arrested for no reason. I was 19 at the time and have no criminal record. I was humiliated and treated like an animal. I thought they were going to kill me at the police station. I can’t even walk IN MY OWN TOWN without being afraid these cops will attack me again.”

In Tuesday’s news conference, Selaedin Maksut, CAIR New Jersey’s executive director, called on the officers involved to be fired and prosecuted for aggravated assault and official misconduct for allegedly making the false report.

The Attorney General’s Office and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday they are investigating the allegations.

Navas said in the news conference Tuesday he is “glad to hear” the Attorney General’s Office is investigating and hopes they will conclude the officers are guilty of criminal conduct, saying what the officers did is “flat-out assault.”

“The incident report authored by these officers does not match what’s on that video,” Navas said in the news conference. “These officers, when they wrote the report, made my client sound like the aggressor, they made it sound like they approached him, that he’s yelling profanities at them, and that they are taking some type of a police action.”

“That is not what occurred,” he continued.

While he said he didn’t want to share too many details of the case because of pending litigation, he said he expects Alsaidi will be “exonerated of those what I can only say are false charges.” Navas said they are also filing a civil suit.

“I’m hoping that this kind of community getting together and discussing these issues will result in that, and that we can bring some real change to the police department, because they sorely need it,” Navas said.

Article Topic Follows: National-World

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