‘They Terrorized Us For 3 Hours’
'They Terrorized Us For 3 Hours'
By Gary G. Toms
On the morning of February 16, 2002, Flornell Myers was jolted from her sleep by a loud banging at the front door. Before the Ocean Village resident could get out of bed to see what was happening, she was grabbed, thrown to the floor, and had guns placed to her head. Fearing for her children's safety, she called out to them. She was picked up and taken into the living room of her apartment. Her children, Shaunquell Rogers, 20, Flornell Rogers, 19, and Aylas Rogers, 15, were taken from their bedrooms and brought into the living room area as well. They were abruptly handcuffed, and this was just the beginning of what Myers describes as "her nightmare."
"I kept asking them who they were and why they were in my home. They were yelling at me and my children the entire time," Myers stated.
"Shut the fuck up! We don't have to tell you anything," was the response from several of the men, according to Myers.
As the family members looked on in horror, the officers, who Myers says had not identified themselves up to this point, began to ransack the apartment in an attempt to locate drugs.
"They had no respect for my home. They knocked over my prized African statues, kicked holes in my walls, and ripped the closet doors from the hinges. My children were crying the whole time. I was enraged by the way they were treating us. All I could do was pray for the nightmare to end," she said.
Myers noted that once drugs could not be located on the premises by the officers, who still had not identified themselves or presented any type of search warrant, they grabbed her son, Shaunquell, and took him out into the hallway.
"They brutalized my son repeatedly. They kept telling him to give up the drugs. They just kept saying that they knew he had them and that he'd better tell them where they were. My son told them that he didn't know what they were talking about, but they kept shoving him around and intimidating him. I was really frightened that they would shoot him or something," the mother stated.
When her son, who is known by many in the community as "Shaq", a star athlete at Beach Channel High School, stated that he was innocent, and that he attended Beach Channel High School, Myers said that an officer stated, "Oh, you a smart nigger, huh?"
"I could not believe what I heard come out of that man's mouth. If he was a supposed to be a member of law enforcement, he did not act as such. I was shocked at how he, and the other men, were talking to my son," exclaimed Myers.
An angry Myers went on to say that once the men could not physically locate any drugs, dogs were brought into the home to try and sniff them out. Three hours later, after they realized they made a mistake, the officers removed the handcuffs, but issued no apology.
Reverend Evan Gray, community activist and pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, located on Beach 67 Street, was deeply angered by what happened to the family.
"Flornell has been a member of my church for the last six years. She is a very nice lady. She has attended on a consistent basis. Her children are popular at school and they have never been in trouble with the law," said the pastor.
"This may very well be a case where the Myers family may have had their rights violated. I say this because after the ordeal, procedure indicates that information should have been provided on how to have damages to her home repaired. Instead, these officers told her not to bother contacting an attorney because she wouldn't get a dime. That is not part of procedure as I understand it," continued Gray.
Bertha Sutton, a Macedonia congregation member and corresponding secretary for the church's Women's Industrial League, agrees with her pastor.
"She is so nice. She always comes to church in beautiful African clothing. I know she is very proud of her children because she talks about them and their accomplishments often," said Sutton.
The Wave contacted the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI) for comments from police sources about the case.
"A warrant was issued and executed on February 16 for that address. If there are allegations of misconduct, then a complaint should be filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board. That's all we can say at this point.
Myers has informed The Wave that a complaint has been filed recently, but lodging the complaint has not lessened the pain of what she and her family went through.
"I remember one of the men saying that they were responding to a tip that had been provided by an informant. If that is the case, I would suggest that they consider revising this policy. They definitely were misinformed, and now my family and me will have to live with this for the rest of our lives. Just because we live in Ocean Village, does not mean we should be profiled as people who buy and sell drugs," stated Myers.