Abner Louima

Abner Louima
Abner Louima
Photo by John Mathew Smith - Celebrity Photos / Flickr

Abner Louima, a 31-year-old, who was born in Haiti, is the son of a tailor and a homemaker. He worked as a security guard. On the night of August 9, 1997, following an altercation in a Haitian nightclub in Brooklyn, where he was out with friends, he was arrested, then brutally beaten and raped with a broken broomstick by New York police. His injuries, including a punctured bladder, a severed colon as well as broken teeth, were so severe that he required three major surgeries. His sphincter was also torn. During trial, an investigator described the public bathroom where the attack on Abner took place, as filthy: “It was never cleaned, and feces had hardened on the walls, a clear indication of the lack of respect shown to the accused,” the investigator said.

Trigger Warning: Depictions of graphic violence follow.

What allegedly happened to Abner Louima represented an almost unimaginable display of psychosexual criminality. Inside the bathroom, according to a source, one officer seized a wooden handle, called Abner a "F-cking Haitian" and slammed him up against the wall. According to Abner, the police threw him to the ground and started beating him. Then one of two officers picked up something from the floor. “I don't know what it is, but it looked like a plunger to me” The officer then pushed the plunger into Abner’s anus, and then it came out with feces and blood. What Abner testified to next was unimaginable. Abner said, “They put it [the plunger] in my mouth.”

Abner exclaimed, "I tried screaming. I screamed.…When they take me to the bathroom, there were other officers around—they don't do anything. They don't try to rescue me.” He continued, by sharing the statements being made during his attack. “They said lots of things.” He said that they called him the, “N-Word,” and demanded that he had to respect them adding that “This is Giuliani, this is not Dinkins time."

The main perpetrator in the case was charged with several counts in federal court of violating Abner Louima's civil rights, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to police. On December 13, 1999, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison, without the possibility of parole, as well as a $525 fine and restitution in the amount of $277,495. Another officer was convicted on June 27, 2000, for helping with the assault on Abner in the bathroom, and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Three other officers were convicted on the charge of conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation into the assault on Abner, but their convictions were reversed by a federal appeals court in February 2002 for insufficient evidence.

In 2001, Abner received an $8.75 million settlement in his civil suit against the city for police brutality, the largest civil settlement to that time for such abuse. After legal fees his settlement amounted to $5.8 million. He has set up the Abner Louima Foundation to establish a hospital and community centers in Haiti, in Florida, and in New York for Haitian residents, immigrants, and others in need. Abner Louima now lives in Florida with his wife and three children. Society now lives with the knowledge of the depths of depravity still being inflicted on innocent Black people.