FREEPORT, NY — Residents are outraged and officials are calling for an investigation after a viral video surfaced this week allegedly showing a group of Freeport Police Department officers punching and tasing a black man during an arrest.
The video, which has amassed more than 78,000 views since it was posted yesterday, shows multiple Freeport police officers dragging a suspect to the ground and hitting him repeatedly as he calls out for help. One of the officers is also seen using a Taser to try to subdue the man after he had been pushed to the ground.
“I have viewed the video and have many questions,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. “I call for an independent investigation of this arrest by the Freeport Village Police. At this time, I am asking all to remain calm and patient as the investigation unfolds.”
The video contains some graphic language.
According to Newsday, the man in the video is 44-year-old Akbar Rogers, who had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle and physical harassment. Newsday reported that he led police on a high-speed chase on Monday, which they police stopped in fear of public safety. According to Newsday, the arrest was made on Tuesday after Freeport police tried to arrest Rogers at his home and he fled.
A Freeport Village attorney told News12 that Rogers was seen reaching into his waistband multiple times, and that the officers were acting to protect themselves.
The video shows Rogers being pulled over a three-foot-high chain-link fence by three officers, who then force him to the ground. A fourth officer runs in, and punches can be heard.
The officers can be seen on the video punching Rogers multiple times in the face and torso as he screams out in pain and for help. He screams, “I’m dying!” as a fifth officer rushes over and leans on top of him. The officers yell for him to “stop f***ing resisting” as they’re seen punching him repeatedly in the face. The discharge of a Taser can be heard as well.
The minute-long video ends with six officers on top of Rogers while more run to assist with his arrest.
The Nassau County District Attorney’s office is “reviewing the incident,” according to Spokeswoman Miriam Sholder.
Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy told Newsday that he didn’t think the officers did anything wrong, and added that his son was one of the officers in the video.
The Freeport Police Benevolence Association (the department’s union) also voiced its support of the officers in the video.
“The Freeport Police Benevolent Association stands behind our officers and the safety and security of the residents we serve. I am confident that when the judicial process is complete and all facts are presented, it will be confirmed that our officers did their jobs in accordance with the law,” said Shawn Randall, the Freeport PBA president.
“We are thankful that the District Attorney’s office is reviewing the arrest captured in this video.
We are deeply concerned by the contents of this video and believe a comprehensive, independent
investigation is essential,” Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams and Legislator Debra Mulé said in a joint statement. “As that process unfolds, we ask for the public’s patience as investigators perform their duties and establish the facts of the case.”
Justice League NYC, a group working to end racial biases in the justice system, called upon officials to release the names of the officers in the video.
“Viciously beating a restrained man is a clear case of brutality exercised by the officers who have no fear of repercussions,” the organization wrote in a statement. “When we see example of white criminals who pose a threat to others — including to police — being taken into custody without a scratch, time and again, it makes it very clear this lack of accountability only applies to black and brown people.”
Published at Thu, 05 Dec 2019 09:19:38 +0000