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The BBC's Gillian Ni Cheallaigh
"The brutality of his case drew international attention"
 real 56k

The BBC's Martin Turner in Washington
"The details of Abner Louima's case are almost unspeakable"
 real 28k

Friday, 13 July, 2001, 01:46 GMT 02:46 UK
New York pays for police brutality
Abner Louima
Mr Louima was in hospital for months after the assault
The city of New York and its police union have agreed to pay nearly $9m to a man who was severely beaten and sexually assaulted by police.

The settlement is the largest ever paid out by the city in a police brutality case.

Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, now 34, was hospitalised for two-and-a-half months after the assault in August 1997.

Settlement
$8.75m total
$7.125m paid by New York City
$1.625m paid by police union
$5.8m to Mr Louima and his children
$2.9m to Mr Louima's lawyers
The case attracted international attention and sparked demonstrations, most by black and Hispanic New Yorkers, against police brutality.

The settlement came after years of negotiations during which Mr Louima abandoned an effort to force reforms in the NYPD.

He said he did not see himself as a rich man, but "as somebody who is lucky enough to be alive and to have achieved some justice".

A lawyer for the police union denied "any real liability", and said it had paid in order to "assist the city in putting this case behind everyone".

Breakdown

The city of New York agreed to pay $7.125m, while the police union the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association will pay $1.625m.

Justin Volpe is serving 30 years for sodomising Mr Louima
Volpe said he was ashamed of what he had done
Mr Louima's lawyers will claim $2.9m of the $8.75m total.

The remaining $5.8m will be paid out to Mr Louima and his children over the next two decades.

He originally sued for $150m.

The assault

Mr Louima was arrested on 9 August 1997 after an incident outside a nightclub in New York.

After beating him up inside a Brooklyn police station, police officers forced a broken broom handle into his rectum.

One of the officers, Justin Volpe, was given a 30-year jail sentence after admitting responsibility for the assault.

A second, Charles Schwarz, is serving 15 years for holding Mr Louima down whilst the attack took place. He maintains he is innocent. Another two officers have also been convicted of conspiring to cover up Schwarz's role.

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See also:

27 Jun 00 | Americas
NYPD officer jailed for brutality
06 Mar 00 | Americas
NYPD officers convicted of plot
09 Jun 99 | Americas
NYPD officer guilty of beating
26 May 99 | Americas
NYPD officer admits brutality
07 May 99 | Americas
Haitian confronts alleged tormentors
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