A video has emerged in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, showing a clerk at a local convenience store beating a customer as he suffers a seizure. Now, the community is outraged as the victim has been hospitalized and days later cannot move his whole body.
On Dec. 22 at the Princess Market convenience store around 3:30 p.m. on West Raleigh Boulevard after a 56-year-old Black man entered the store.
Gregory Evans, according to his family, started having a seizure when the clerk left his post behind the counter to confront him. It was then that the person started to beat Evans with a stick despite the man experiencing a medical crisis. The violent assault was captured on cellphones by other customers.
WRAL, a local NBC affiliate, assisted in the investigation of the assault by providing authorities with video copies of the incident they had already acquired.
Sobhi Hassan, 68, was arrested by Rocky Mount Police Department earlier on Tuesday, Dec. 28, and was charged with simple assault in connection with the incident.
The video shows Hassan shouting at Evans, “Get out now,” before coming over to beat him six times on his leg during his seizure. As a result of the altercation, Evans is hospitalized and undergoing tests.
The incident has prompted acts of civil unrest calling for justice for Evans. Protestors cleaned up trash, as they collect signatures for a petition to get the store shut down, claiming that the store has a history of treating customers “in a negative and discriminatory way.”
Local authorities are continuing to investigate the assault to determine if it can be considered a hate crime.
His sister, Edith Cooper, gave an update on his condition at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on Monday, Dec. 27, during a forum organized by civil rights activist the Rev. Thomas Walker. The goal was to give voice to the community and to hear the progress of the investigation from the police.
She informed the community, “He’s a little slow … and he still doesn’t have full mobility of his body at this time.” She also noted that her brother said that his back and legs are “hurting.”
Police Chief Robert Hassell asked the community in a forum on the investigation, which lasted for approximately an hour and 20 minutes, to be patient as they gather information.
“Once that is complete, then we will take the appropriate action and move this case forward,” Hassell said. “Give the police department and our District Attorney’s Office a chance to do what we are hired to do.”
He continued, “I only ask the community: Please remain calm and let the police department conclude this investigation — and we will take the necessary actions that needs to be taken, in lockstep with our District Attorney’s Office, to make sure that we have a solid case if there is one to be brought.”
He shared that they have more information on the assault, including additional videos. Hassell further noted that he was unable to speak with Evans because of his health.
During the gathering at Rev. Walker’s church, Cooper said that her brother could not strike Hassan back after he was hit because of the seizure. She said that her brother grabbed the counter involuntarily as he experienced the shakes and convulsion of the seizure.
Cooper further explained that witnesses took him outside of the store and alerted an ambulance of the trauma. According to the sister, at first paramedics treated him exclusively for the seizure before being made aware that he had been beaten.
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