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#1387: Haitians: 30 Years Is Not Enough (fwd)
Haitians: 30 Years Is Not Enough
By TARA GEORGE Daily News Staff Writer
Original Publication Date: 12/14/1999
They had wanted Justin Volpe to rot in prison for life. From the
streets of Flatbush to the sidewalks outside Brooklyn Federal Court,
Haitian-Americans were furious that the disgraced ex-cop had not been
slapped with the max. Their reasoning: Volpe had destroyed a life —
Abner Louima's — and in return, he should be made to pay with his own.
Shouts of "That ain't enough! That ain't enough!" erupted outside
the courthouse as word spread that the 27-year-old had been sentenced to
30 years. Callers jammed radio stations — outraged at Judge Eugene
Nickerson's punishment for Volpe's 1997 broomstick sodomy of Louima in
a police stationhouse bathroom. "The reactions were very emotional,"
said Ralph Delly, of Radio Soleil D'Haiti. "They expected something
tougher." Louima's uncle, the Rev. Philius Nicholas, said the family had
been hoping for more. But he found a ray of light. "We're not here for
vengeance, so we're satisfied," he said from the offices of his Flatbush
church. "We hope that when Volpe comes out, he comes out a changed man."
Like others, though, Nicholas said the damage Volpe had wrought
extended well beyond Louima and his family to the Haitian-American
community at large. "Cops are not viewed as friends by the community,"
Nicholas said. "They are not viewed as humans. They will have to do a
lot to change their image in the minority community."
African-Americans also said they had hoped Nickerson would send a
stronger signal against police brutality. Eric Adams, the co-founder of
the 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, said: "This is a clear miscarriage of
justice. I am not satisfied." The Rev. Al Sharpton said, "A deposit was
paid on justice, but we're not paid in full."