Three Cops Guilty of Haitian’s Beating Cover-Up in New YorkBy Patricia Hurtado
NEWSDAY -- NEW YORK
Former New York police officer Charles Schwarz and two colleagues were convicted Monday of conspiring to conceal Schwarz’s role in the sexual assault of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima three years ago.
The federal jury concluded that Schwarz, Thomas Bruder, 33, and Thomas Wiese, 36, lied to cover up Schwarz’s role in the Aug. 9, 1997, assault in a rest room of a police station house in Brooklyn.
Schwarz, 34, convicted last year of restraining Louima while Justin Volpe sodomized him with a wooden stick, looked initially stunned, then enraged as the verdict was announced. He cursed at his lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, and said, “They’re ... liars.”
He reddened, then punched the air angrily with his fist as he was led away by U.S. marshals, and could be heard cursing and yelling from a holding pen adjacent to the courtroom, “They convicted me twice. Two ... times.”
Schwarz already faces up to life in prison for his federal conviction last June for depriving Louima of his civil rights.
All three face up to five years imprisonment with this latest conviction.
Louima was not in the courtroom, but at a news conference after the verdict, Samuel Nicolas, a cousin and family spokesman, said, “This is not a happy occasion for us. We are not opening champagne bottles. Abner is still recuperating ... Now we can start the healing process.”
U.S. District Court Judge Eugene Nickerson, who presided over the case in Brooklyn, Monday set an April 7 return date for the defendants.
When the verdict was announced, Bruder stared in disbelief, saying, “There is no justice. This is a travesty.”
Apparently overcome by emotion, he first put his head down on the defense table and then buried his head on the shoulder of his lawyer, Stuart London.
The defendants’ supporters and their families erupted with the verdict: Bruder’s girlfriend burst into tears and Wiese’s mother collapsed in the hallway outside the courtroom sobbing.