'They Beat Him Brutally': Protesters Rally As Long Island Man Faces Judge After Controversial Arrest

Sophia Hall
December 06, 2019 - 12:16 pm
Akbar Rogers

WCBS 880


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A Long Island man whose arrest is causing controversy over concerns of excessive force faced a judge Friday.

Akbar Rogers limped up to the judge at a Nassau County courtroom. Rogers' arm was in a sling, his eye was covered with a patch and his head was bandaged. 

He faces charges of assault and resisting arrest after his arrest in Freeport on Tuesday. The arrest was caught on video and went viral on social media.

The video shows what appears to be seven white police officers arresting the 44-year-old Rogers, who is black. One of the officers in the video is the son of the Freeport mayor.

In the video, witnesses could be heard yelling things like "Why are you punching him like that?" and "Why are you hitting him?" as Rogers shouts "Help me."

The Nassau County executive and the Freeport mayor say an investigation is underway to determine whether there was excessive force used.

Rogers told WCBS 880: "I'm proud that I got a lot of support from a lot of people out there who saw this event. My kids and my family, they're really distraught by the whole ordeal."

Warning: Video of the arrest contains graphic content

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Dozens of supporters of Rogers rallied outside a church in Freeport on a cold Friday afternoon. Pastor Arthur Mackey was among them.

"They beat him, and they beat him brutally," Mackey said at the demonstration. "Akbar Rogers experienced police brutality by some out-of-control, rogue police officers."

Activist Bria Baker said the rally was about countering the narrative she believes will be put out by police and the press.

"What the police chief is going to say; what they're going to get in the media to say; what they're probably going to put out in the press release is that there were warrants out, is that he had done X, Y and Z that deserved whatever," Baker said. "But three seconds into the video he was already on his stomach, and they should have apprehended him just like that."

Akbar Rogers protest
WCBS 880

The protesters want the officers suspended without pay and their body cameras made public. They also want them put on administrative leave without pay.

"These officers are not fit to serve and should not be allowed to continue to patrol this community," Baker said.