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After completing 24 years of a 30-year sentence, the former New York Police Department officer who sodomized Abner Louima in 1997 was granted an early release from jail.

Abner Louima

According to the New York Daily News, Justin Volpe, who entered a guilty plea during his trial, was transported on May 13 from a federal institution in Minnesota. He is currently enrolled in the Residential Reentry Management Program, which either sends previously jailed people to halfway houses or permits those who are still doing time to return home to finish their term. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Volpe, who was serving time in a federal prison in Texas, requested a compassionate release in 2021. He informed the judge that he had been ill with the virus while confined but had not gotten medical care.

Police Officer Justin Volpe leaving Brooklyn Federal Court where he is on trial in the torture beating of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. (Savulich, Andrew/New York Daily News)

The night of August 9, 1997, Louima, a Haitian-American immigrant, and two other guys got into a brawl at a Brooklyn nightclub between two ladies. Louima and the other men were then detained. Officers Volpe and others arrived on the scene. Volpe subsequently acknowledged that his claim that Louima had attacked him was false. Louima was accused with a number of offenses, including resisting arrest, becoming unruly, and impeding government operations. While escorting Louima back to the 70th precinct, the cops assaulted him with nightsticks, police radios, and their fists.

Louima was sodomized and kicked in the testicles by Volpe, who subsequently boasted about what he did to a sergeant, after the cops beat him up and strip-searched him once they got to the station. He was then dropped off at Coney Island Hospital by police, who claimed that his injuries were brought on by unusual homosexual behavior. The NYPD internal affairs division and Louima’s family were informed by a hospital nurse. Louima had to have three major operations to heal the significant internal damage that the attack caused to his bladder and intestines.

Due to Louima’s injuries, there were massive Black American protests in Brooklyn, which included one at the 70th Precinct. Later, Volpe was accused of making false statements, obstructing justice, and violating Louima’s civil rights. Prior to entering a guilty plea, Volpe entered a “not guilty” plea. He was ordered to pay more than $270,000 in reparations in addition to receiving a sentence of 30 years in prison without the chance of release. A legal lawsuit brought by Louima against the city was resolved for $8.75 million. – Steve Sijenyi

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