New York 1 News

March 7, 2000

Police Officers Convicted in Second Louima Trial Awaiting Sentencing

The three police officers found guilty in the second Abner Louima trial each face up to five years in prison. No sentencing date has yet been set though for former Officer Charles Schwarz and Officers Thomas Wiese and Thomas Bruder. Jurors came back with the guilty verdicts Monday after deliberating for four days. The officers were all found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice by trying to cover up Schwarz's role in the attack. Wiese and Bruder broke down as the jury read its verdicts. Schwarz testified that he was not in the 70th Precinct Station House bathroom during the attack in August of 1997. He was heard cursing at prosecutors as he left the courtroom. Schwarz's attorney Ronald Fischetti also says that he "asked that he (Schwarz) be put on suicide watch. He's been called a sex fiend. His emotional state is not good at this time." Schwarz has been in jail sence his conviction in the first Louima trial last summer. He's already facing a possible life sentence in the assault case. His wife vows to appeal both verdicts. Andra Schwarz says, "the prosecution has called all cops liars. As a cop you don't have the presumption of innocence. Even the President is making assumptions. It's hard for the jurors to put those thoughts aside." However, the Assistant U.S. Attorney says the verdict speaks loudly, and justice was done. Alan Vinegard says, "Schwarz's testimony was uncredible and essentially a lie. Obviously the jury found his guilty." Bruder and Wiese remain out on bail. In a statement, Police Commissioner Howard Safir said, "there is not a police officer of good character who would not be disgusted by the abhorrent behavior, and any effort to conceal it." Meanwhile, another trial in the Louima case is set to unfold later this month. Officers Rolando Aleman and Francisco Rosario are also charged with up the incident.