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Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
NYPD officer jailed for brutality
Abner Louima
Mr Louima was in court to hear the verdict
A former New York patrolman has been sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison for an assault on a Haitian immigrant in a case of police brutality that shocked the United States.

The US District Court reached its verdict against Charles Schwarz in the third trial stemming from the 1997 incident in New York, in which two officers assaulted Abner Louima in a police station toilet by forcing a broken broom handle into his rectum.

Mr Louima was hospitalised for two-and-a-half months.

Another New York Police Department officer, Justin Volpe, was sentenced to 30 years in prison at the end of last year, after admitting the assault.

'Innocent'

Tuesday's sentencing came after Schwarz delivered a speech declaring his innocence.

He accused prosecutors of presenting "twisted and distorted truth" at his trial.

"This case was about many things, but it was never about justice," he said.

Prosecutors "silenced witnesses just as effectively as any organised crime family".

Mr Louima was in the packed courtroom for sentencing.

Schwarz, 34, has also been ordered to pay him $277,495 in compensation.

The former officer was convicted last year of holding Mr Louima down while his colleague, Volpe, sodomised him with the broom handle.

"But for [co-defendant] Volpe's extraordinary brutality, it is unlikely Schwarz would now face a sentence for sexual assault carried out with such force," said US District Court Judge Eugene Nickerson.

He said Volpe and not Schwarz wielded the stick.

For this reason Schwarz received only half the sentence of his colleague.

Another trial ended last week with the conviction of another former officer, Francisco Rosario, for lying to investigators.

He and his partner Rolando Aleman, who pleaded guilty, are awaiting sentencing.

The case - and the shooting by New York police of African immigrant Amadou Diallo last February - created racial tensions and prompted widespread protests.

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See also:

13 Dec 99 | Americas
NYPD officer jailed for brutality
29 Feb 00 | Americas
Diallo officers urged to resign
09 Jun 99 | Americas
NYPD officer guilty of beating
26 May 99 | Americas
NYPD officer admits brutality
06 Mar 00 | Americas
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