Demonstration calls for charges to be dropped against man accusing Freeport Village police of brutality
People rallied Thursday for charges to be dropped against a man who accused Freeport Village police of brutality in an arrest that was caught on camera.
The rally was held Thursday evening outside the Nassau District Attorney's Office, where organizers sought justice for Akbar Rogers.
Video from last December shows Rogers on the ground yelling as Freeport Village officers hit and use a Taser on him while trying to arrest him for harassment and traffic violations. The 44-year-old was then charged with assaulting the officers. Onlookers from the video are heard exclaiming, "Why are you punching him like that?"
The incident occurred months before the death of George Floyd and subsequent calls for police reform nationwide. Demonstrators renewed their calls for the DA to drop the charges against Rogers, and to hold officers accountable for their actions.
"Also talk about the larger systemic problem with policing, which is why we have other victims of police violence across the Island coming to speak about their own experience and letting people know that George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are not isolated situations," says Nia Adams, of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.
Among those in attendance was Rogers himself.
"I'm particularly grateful to be here today, period," says Rogers. "But for the grace of God, this rally could be my memorial service."
On the December arrest, Rogers said "the officers didn't care about me as a human being at all. He just looked at me - kept punching me in my face over and over."
A number of other people came out to tell their stories about alleged police brutality against themselves and their loved ones.
Rogers says he wants to help be part of improving the relationship between citizens and police.
"I feel God has a plan for me. He spared my life and I need to speak out," he says.
The DA's office released a statement, "The district attorney has met with community leaders regarding this case and is committed to improving the relationship between law enforcement and the community we serve."