Activists rally to denounce Freeport arrest caught on video, call for probe of police

 

Shouting slogans such as “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” the more than 100 activists and local residents gathered on the steps of the Refuge Apostolic Church. (Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware)

 

Community and grassroots activists denounced the controversial arrest of a local resident during a rally in Freeport on Friday, calling for state authorities to step in and investigate the village’s police department.

They also said they want the officers who arrested Akbar Rogers, 44, of Freeport to be placed on administrative leave without pay, and have the footage from their body cameras released.

Shouting slogans like “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” the more than 100 activists and local residents gathered on the steps of the Refuge Apostolic Church.

Rogers “experienced police brutality by some out-of-control rogue police officers,” said the Rev. Arthur Mackey Jr., of Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt.

Officers had come to arrest Rogers on a warrant for a traffic charge, as well as a separate incident in which he allegedly pushed a woman to the ground twice, officials have said.

The arrest of Rogers on Tuesday was captured by a neighbor on a video that has since gone viral. The video showed seven officers involved, with at least two punching the man while he was on the ground yelling for help. Another officer appeared to kick Rogers.

Mackey said the officers did not need to use violence against Rogers.

Race also has played a part in the outrage, as all the officers appear to be white, and Rogers is black.

“They could have just put the handcuffs on him and put him in prison and let him have his day in court. 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. We must stand up against the racism, the classism and the sexism,” Mackey said.

Freeport police say they followed proper procedures, though the Nassau County district attorney’s office is investigating. A lawyer representing the police officers said Friday that his clients had to exert “reasonable force” because Rogers was resisting arrest.

Attorney William Petrillo of Garden City said Rogers was out of control and that police stopped the use of force once he was handcuffed.

Reprinted from Newsday.com. Read the article here.