In a city with an Arab American mayor and Muslim American police chief, you’d think that minorities—especially Arabs and Muslims—would not have to worry about being beaten up by the police for simply walking on the street. But you’d be wrong, as Osamah Alsaidi, a then-19-year-old teen who was simply walking to his car in Paterson, New Jersey, brutally learned.
Alsaidi had a simple story to tell but no one—at least not the authorities—believed him. On Dec. 14, 2020, Alsaidi, who has no criminal record, left his house at about 12:30 a.m., walking to his car parked on the street so he could be on time for his 1 a.m. shift at Amazon. It was then that Alsaidi, a Yemeni American who is active in the local mosque, claimed he was approached by two Paterson police officers who within seconds of the encounter began punching him in the face and body.
In large part many dismissed Alsaidi’s story because the police report told a vastly different tale. Paterson police officers Kevin Patino and Kendry Tineo wrote they were in the area in response to a report of a “suspicious person” when they spotted Alsaidi. The officers alleged that suddenly Alsaidi “walked towards these officers screaming profanities and acting belligerent causing a disturbance to the residents.”