Rocky Mount clerk arrested after video shows him using a stick to beat a customer having a seizure
A Rocky Mount community is outraged after a video showed an employee at a convenience store beating a customer with a stick while he was having a seizure. The man had to be hospitalized after the beating, his family said, and he still is unable to move his whole body.Posted — Updated
Gregory Evans, 56, stopped in the Princess Market convenience store on West Raleigh Boulevard last Wednesday.
Once inside, his family told WRAL News that Evans started having a seizure and was confronted by the clerk behind the counter.
The employee was seen beating Evans with a stick and cursing at him, telling Evans to get out of the store while he appears to be shaking and tries to steady himself on the store’s counter, cell phone video shows.
Police were able to arrest the employee after WRAL News sent the police a copy of the video this week to ask if any charges would be filed. 68-year-old Sobhi Hassan was arrested by the Rocky Mount Police Department this week and was charged with simple assault.
But some community members say they want to see the Princess Market shut down for good.
“The video was horrible to look at, to see a person treated less than a human being,” said Rocky Mount resident Bronson Williams.
Days after the incident, protesters began lining the street in front of Princess Market calling for the store to be shut down. A group gathered around the market Wednesday to clean up trash, collect signatures for a petition and continued to protest.
Demonstrators said they felt the Princess Market had behaved in "a negative and discriminatory way" toward their community for years, and that the video was the breaking point.
“This community is lacking banking activity, this community is lacking a pharmacy, this community is lacking educational opportunities as well, so there’s so much that could really go on here,” Williams said. “We’ve got to restore value back here in this community, so that people can know that they do matter.”
Residents held a community meeting at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Monday, where the victim’s sister, Edith Cooper, gave an update on Evans’ condition.
“He’s a little slow, and he still doesn’t have full mobility of his body at this time,” Cooper told the gathered crowd. “But he’s okay.”
Leaders of the Rocky Mount Police Department also attended the community meeting to listen to concerns.
Cooper said that her brother was still undergoing tests for possible long-term injuries at the hospital, and that the assault has had a terrible impact on her and her family.
Elizabeth Hedrick, who owns the building that the Princess Market is in, said Hassan’s family has rented the store from her for years. She said she hadn’t spoken with the family since seeing the video.
WRAL News asked Hedrick whether she planned to stop renting to Hassan’s family or shut Princess Market down entirely.
She replied that it was too soon to know what their next steps would be.
A man close to the family, who was outside of the store on Wednesday afternoon, said what Hassan did was “very stupid,” but declined to connect WRAL News with the family for an interview.
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