March 13-19, 2002
By Macollvie Jean-François
BROOKLYN - A small, yet tenacious contingent of community leaders
remain vigilant on the Abner Louima case by organizing meetings
and events to improve relations between the police and the communities
A Feb. 28 court reversal of an officer's conviction rekindled a
fire that was left smothering after three cops were found guilty
of participating in the 1997 brutal beating of Louima
The week of March 4 was a busy one for community activists who
held a vigil and met with senior court officials. Community leaders
also attended the bail hearing of Charles Schwarz, the police officer
set free after a panel of judges overturned his conviction.
Louima, after a nine-month long silence that left some in the community
feeling unappreciated, pledged his support for groups seeking an
irrevocable conviction for the former police officers. Louima, who
received an $8.75 million settlement from the Patrolmen's Benevolent
Association in July, now resides in Miami Lakes, Fla.
Community group members sat in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge
Reena Raggi on March 7 as she set Schwarz's bail at $1 million,
on condition that he stays within the five boroughs and remains
at a house in an undisclosed suburb until his retrial in June 24.
The judge accepted the equity of Schwarz' mother's house, valued
at $385,000 as collateral for the bail.
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