The case of Abner Louima was one of the most brutal cases in New York, when a police officer brutalized the arrested suspect with a plunger. The arrest started when police were breaking up a fight between two women outside the club and two men intervened. Abner Louima interfered with the police and after the police officer, Justin Volpe screamed some discriminatory words, Louima allegedly punched the officer. He was arrested for “assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing justice” (Banks, 2004).
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When the suspect was brought into the police station, two police officers took him to the washroom and assaulted him. After the trial Abner Louima was awarded $8.7 million for the way he was brutally treated. The police officer, Justin Volpe, admitted his actions and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, after he left the force. Another officer
Charles Schwarz was sentenced to five years in jail; this resulted from jury deciding that the police officer gave false statements about not taking the suspect into the bathroom. There were other two officers, Thomas Bruder and Thomas Wiese who were taken off the force for obstruction of justice and their attempt for reinstatement was denied (Banks, 2004).
Mayor Guiliani and Police Commissioner Safir were providing full support to Abner Louima and commented that this was outrageous and there would be no silence. They stated the fact that from all police officers present there were only two who came forward and provided the necessary information of what has taken place (Perni, 2005).
Also, Rev. Al Sharpton showed his agreement when he was present with Louima’s family in order to offer any help or advice. The public outcry was of great proportions and people were demanding justice. This was one of several racial profiling and police officer brutality cases and so, the public demanded the justice is served.
The most atrocious thing about the case is that police officers are made to be an example and representatives of the law. The fact that they have some much authority does not allow them to abuse their right to use force and commit the sort of actions criminals are involved in. An important issue of other officers standing by was also examined in court.
There were other police officers in the station at the time of the assault and the fact that they have idly stood by proves that several police officers were corrupt and indifferent to such actions. The case is filled with discrimination and overall unethical behavior but the justice system works, as people directly and indirectly responsible were punished.
The news has been following the case very closely and the public outrage was very much noticeable. Mr. Louima has stated that he considers himself the representative of all the racial discrimination that has been going on by the authorities and he has set up charities for the Haitian community to change things (Alexander, 2010).
In order to prevent these sorts of cases happening in the future, more strict control of officers and police stations should be implicated. A supervisor on duty or someone directly responsible for prevention of racial profiling and unjust abuse should be designated to monitor all activity in the station and in the field. The strict punishments should be maintained, as this sort of injustice is unacceptable in any society.
Alexander, L. (2010). Encyclopedia of African American history. Santa Barbara, United States. ABC-CLIO.
Banks, C. (2004). Criminal justice ethics: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, United States: SAGE.
Perni, H. (2005). A heritage of hypocrisy: Why ‘they’ hate us. Union Dale, United States: Pleasant Mount Press, Inc.