Freeport cops were caught on film arresting an African-American man last week, and the video has sparked outrage on and offline.
The video shows seven cops, one of which is the son of Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy, pilling on top of 44-year-old Akbar Rogers, and at least two officers were seen kicking and punching Rogers. Officers also used a stun gun.
“I kept saying, ‘I’m not resisting,’” said Rogers during an interview with Newsday. “I saw black stars and white light when they shocked me, and my heart almost stopped. I said, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and I said, ‘You’re killing me.’”
The Freeport police said the officers were arresting Rogers, who was wanted for an outstanding warrant, after fleeing his home. They said Rogers assaulted a 35-year-old woman on Oct. 13 and was wanted for the assault, driving without a license and harassment. This eventually led to the controversial arrest on Nov. 3.
“Upon catching up with Mr. Rogers, he refused multiple requests to surrender, kept reaching for his waistband, and the officers, in order to protect themselves and the members of the community, wrestled Mr. Rogers to the ground,” said Howard Colton, Freeport Village’s attorney in a statement.
Attorney William Petrillo of Garden City said the cops were doing their job and, “Any and all force in this case was reasonable and necessary to subdue him.”
Mayor Kennedy, Legislator Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, Legislator Debra Mulé, Freeport Village Trustee Carmen Piñeyro
“With videos like this, it’s a snapshot,” said Curran during a press conference. “We don’t know what happened before, we don’t know what happened after.”
A rally was held in Freeport in support of Rogers. Over 100 activists and supporters gathered at Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt. They called for the officers to be put on administrative leave without pay and for the officers’ body camera footage to be released.
“They could have just put the handcuffs on him and put him in prison and let him have his day in court,” said Rev. Arthur Mackey during the rally. “But they beat him and they beat him brutally. That could be our son, that could be our daughter, that could be our mother, that could be our father.”