In 1 of 2 cases, assault charges dropped against defendant whose video arrest brought complaints of police brutality

Posted: December 02, 2010

The West Philadelphia man whose controversial arrest Sept. 3 was captured in a YouTube video will not face trial on charges that he assaulted the officer who was filmed hitting him repeatedly with a baton.

Charges against Askia Sabur, seen in the video being struck by Officer Jimmy Leocal, were dismissed yesterday because the officer was unavailable to testify at Sabur's preliminary hearing.

Sabur, 29, was charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and related offenses for allegedly assaulting Leocal and his partner, Donyul Williams, during a violent arrest in front of a Chinese takeout restaurant at Allison Street and Lansdowne Avenue.

Sabur still faces trial on separate charges relating to alleged aggravated assault on Williams, who testified at a separate preliminary hearing last month that Sabur bit him and tried to grab his gun and baton.

Police Internal Affairs is investigating whether there was police misconduct in the incident. The District Attorney's Office cleared Williams on Nov. 16 of any criminal wrongdoing, said spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson.

Leocal isn't the subject of any other investigation by the D.A.'s Office, according to assistant prosecutor Joseph McGettigan.

Williams testified on Nov. 17 that Leocal was injured during the scuffle and needed surgery on his hand. Leocal is seen in the video hitting Sabur across the back of his head and pointing his gun at a crowd that had gathered, said Sabur's attorney, Evan Hughes.

Sabur had a fractured left arm, a head gash and a sore back following the arrest. The YouTube video prompted protests and accusations of police brutality.

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