NEW YORK -- One police officer was convicted Tuesday of joining in the torture of Abner Louima in a Brooklyn station house, but three others were acquitted in the case, which turned the plight of a Haitian immigrant into a national symbol of police brutality.
Officer Charles Schwarz was convicted of holding down Louima while fellow officer Justin Volpe rammed a stick into his rectum, a crime that the U.S. attorney, Zachary Carter, Tuesday called "the most depraved act that's ever been reported or committed by a police officer or police officers against another human being."The Louima case sullied the crime-busting national reputation of the New York Police Department, sparked outrage and street protests among blacks, immigrants and other New Yorkers, and led to a wide-ranging federal investigation into police brutality in the city.
At a news conference with the lawyers representing him in his civil suit against the city, Louima said he was "disappointed" in the mixed verdict but remained "confident that in the end complete justice will be done in my case."
"I hope what comes out of my case is change," he added. "What happened to me should not happen to any human being, to my children or anybody else's children."
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani praised the verdict as a shining example of police officers who were willing to testify so that justice could be done.
The three officers acquitted by the jury were Thomas Wiese, 35, and Thomas Bruder, 33, who had been charged with beating Louima in a police car before he got to the station house, and Sgt. Michael Bellomo, 37, who was accused of covering up the beating.