Tuesday, May 4, 1999 Published at 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
NYPD on trial for brutality
Abner Louima is still recovering from his injuries, two years on
By Jane Hughes in New York
One of the most racially charged trials in New York's recent past is due to get under way on Tuesday - the case of four police officers accused of beating and torturing a Haitian immigrant.
He was arrested outside a nightclub in Brooklyn and said he was beaten and tortured by four officers, first in their patrol car and then at the police precinct where he was taken.
Almost two years later, Abner Louima is still recovering from his injuries. His bruised and battered face was shown on newspaper front pages across America at the time, and his case became so well known that the officers' lawyers argued they would never get a fair trial.
The trial comes at a particularly tense time in New York, shortly after four other officers were charged with murder in the case of an African immigrant who died in a hail of 41 police bullets.
Critics say both incidents are a consequence of New York's tough crime-fighting tactics, which they consider to have given officers too much free rein.
The city's crime rate has been more than halved over the last few years, but many now say that has happened at too high a cost.