New York Daily News

April 4, 2002

Convicted Officer Gets New Hearing 

By Robert Gearty

Adecorated street crime unit cop convicted of lying to federal investigators in the Abner Louima police torture case was granted a new hearing that could clear his record.

The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the hearing yesterday to determine whether former Police Officer Francisco Rosario had a legitimate offer of government immunity that would have barred prosecution.

Rosario at first denied to investigators that he saw a bleeding Louima being led to a cell with his pants down around his ankles in August 1997.

Attorneys for Rosario said federal investigators then offered immunity if he told the truth. Two months later, he changed his story and said that he saw an officer resembling Thomas Bruder escorting Louima.

Prosecutors, however, say that it was convicted ex-cop Justin Volpe, not Bruder, who led Louima to a cell. They also assert that no immunity was offered.

Rosario was convicted in June, dismissed from the force and served three months' home confinement. He is now on three years' probation.

The circuit court said the trial judge, Eugene Nickerson, "dismissed too quickly" Rosario's assertions that immunity was offered.

If the conviction is overturned, Rosario could seek reinstatement from the Police Department.