Man accused of assaulting Freeport Village officers renews call for case to be dismissed
A man accused of assaulting Freeport Village police officers last year is renewing his call for justice amid daily protests across the nation over the police custody death of George Floyd.
Cellphone video from early December shows Akbar Rogers being Tased by officers who were trying to arrest him for alleged harassment and traffic violations. In the video, he says, “I can’t breathe” and is seen being punched.
Six months later, Rogers remains charged with assaulting the officers. The officers are not charged. Rogers and his attorneys say the officers should be charged, and the charges against Rogers dismissed.
“We can't stand down no more,” Rogers told News 12. “It's just disgusting at this point.”
His attorney is asking Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas to “take the moral, legal and ethical high ground” and investigate the arresting officers.
In late December, Rogers' attorneys had waived the case to the grand jury. There have been no grand juries since early March due to the pandemic. A spokeswoman for the Nassau District Attorney's Office said in a statement: "The investigation, which involves consultation with use of force experts, is ongoing."
Rogers is currently suing the Freeport Village Police Department and the officers involved in his arrest.
Rogers' attorneys say that he has cooperated with the investigation every step of the way, and that the video of the arrest speaks for itself.
“It bothers me every day because in the community – you see these officers, they're still just terrorizing the same people in the community,” Rogers says. “I pleaded with them, ‘I can't breathe.’ They just punched me and said, shut the F up, like they didn't care about whether I died or lived."
An attorney for the officers has said it's “crystal clear" that Rogers "ignored repeated commands" and the "police used reasonable and necessary force" to effect the arrest.
An attorney for the officers issued this statement:
"The Freeport police are respectful of, and sensitive to, the voices that cry out for positive change. But not every case is a police brutality case. There are also well-intentioned police officers who try to protect the public. This defendant was known by the police to have engaged in violent acts. He was wanted for assaulting a pregnant woman. He had led the police on a 100 mph chase. He was resisting arrest and would not let the officers cuff him. This case is not about race."