New York 1 News

March 26, 2002

Charles Schwarz Slapped With Two New Perjury Charges

   

Charles Schwarz, the former NYPD officer released from jail earlier this month in connection with the police torture of Abner Louima, was indicted on two counts of perjury by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn Monday.

The indictment states Schwarz lied during federal court proceedings on February 23, 2000, when he said he did not escort Louima to the bathroom of the 70th Precinct stationhouse in Brooklyn.

The indictment also states that Schwarz lied when he said he was not present in the bathroom when Louima was sodomized with a broken broomstick by another former officer, Justin Volpe.

The U.S. attorney’s office released a statement Monday saying that, according to the grand jury, "This defendant, having taken an oath that he would testify truthfully, took the witness stand at a federal criminal trial and repeatedly lied about the circumstances surrounding the sexual assault of Abner Louima. Today's charges reflect the government's determination that the defendant be held accountable for this corruption of the judicial fact-finding process."

One of Louima’s most vocal supporters, Reverend Al Sharpton, also issued a statement, saying that he considered the perjury charges a step in the right direction.

“It vindicates the work of those of us that refuse to surrender in the face of an unjust decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals," Sharpton said. "I stated before, and I repeat - the popping of the champagne bottles were premature by the supporters of Mr. Schwarz."

Louima was beaten and sodomized with a broken broomstick by Justin Volpe in the bathroom of the 70th Precinct in August 1997. Volpe pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Schwarz was convicted of violating Louima’s civil rights by allegedly holding the handcuffed prisoner down while the assault took place. Fellow officers Thomas Wiese and Thomas Bruder were also convicted of obstructing justice in the case.

However, earlier this month an appeals court overturned Schwarz’s conviction on the grounds he was denied effective counsel and that the jury in the original trial was exposed to prejudicial information.

Schwarz, who had already served two and a half years of his 15-year sentence, is free on $1 million bail and is now living at home on Staten Island. He faces a retrial on the civil rights charges.

Bruder and Wiese also had their convictions overturned on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence that the officers obstructed justice. They will not be re-tried on the original charges in federal court, though the Brooklyn district attorney is considering filing state charges.