Jury Deliberates NYC Police Case
NEW YORK (AP) _ Deliberations began today in the trial of four white police officers accused of depriving Haitian immigrant Abner Louima of his civil rights.
In closing arguments, both sides had agreed on one point: Officer Justin Volpe _ who pleaded guilty last week _ committed a heinous crime. Now the Brooklyn jury must decide if he acted alone.
``Don’t let these defendants push us back to the day when police officers could beat people with impunity, and arrest people for no reason and lie about it to cover it up,″ prosecutor Loretta Lynch told jurors in her closing argument Thursday _ nine days after Volpe interrupted the trial to plead guilty to torturing Louima in a precinct bathroom.
Earlier, defense attorney Stephen Worth sought to keep the focus on Volpe by arguing that the case was solely about the former officer, whom he described as sick and depraved.
Worth’s client, Officer Charles Schwarz, is charged with holding down Louima on the filthy floor of the bathroom while an enraged Volpe rammed a broken broom stick up the handcuffed prisoner’s rectum, and threatened to kill him if he told anyone.
Volpe confessed he attacked Louima because he thought _ mistakenly _ that he had punched him in a melee outside a nightclub. He said another officer he didn’t identify was in the bathroom; Schwarz claims he wasn’t there.
Schwarz, 33, along with Thomas Wiese, 35, and Thomas Bruder, 33, also is charged with joining Volpe in beating Louima in a patrol car en route to the 70th Precinct stationhouse on Aug. 9, 1997. A fourth defendant, Sgt. Michael Bellomo, 37, allegedly made false reports to cover up the assault on Louima and another Haitian man, Patrick Antoine.