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Haiti Immigrant: Fight Brutality

October 23, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ A Haitian immigrant who says officers battered and sodomized him told a rally to keep fighting against police brutality.

Abner Louima spoke to the rally Wednesday via phone because his physical condition prevented him from appearing in person, his lawyer said.

``I am with you in spirit,″ Louima said in remarks relayed to the crowd of 200 demonstrators. ``I know that the road to justice is long but don’t be discouraged. We are in a war for our lives. ... I want you to keep on fighting until we win the war.″

Louima was released almost two weeks ago from the hospital. He had been there since Aug. 9, when officers at a Brooklyn police station allegedly battered and sodomized him with a wooden stick, rupturing his colon and bladder.

Two officers have been charged with beating Louima and two with sodomizing him.

The attack on Louima, who is black, has become a rallying cry for those who contend police are abusive, particularly to minorities. It also has been an issue in the mayoral campaign and the subject of protest marches.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced Wednesday a plan to speed the handling of civilian complaints against police. Critics said Giuliani announced the reforms 12 days before an election to win votes.

Update hourly