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#2284: Officer defends Schwarz, says colleagues sought silence... (fwd)


news item

Thursday February 10 12:40 PM EST 
 Officer defends Schwarz, says colleagues sought silence in
 Louima case_______ By Bryan Robinson, Court TV

 NEW YORK (Court TV)  The first officer to reveal information on Abner
Louima's 1997 sodomy and beating testified Wednesday that he only saw
Charles Schwarz walk Louima towards the bathroom where he was
 sodomized by his partner Justin Volpe. Contradicting his testimony in
another trial, the officer said he did not see Schwarz go into the
bathroom with Louima.  Along with Thomas Bruder and Thomas Wiese,
Schwarz is on trial for obstruction of justice. Federal prosecutors
 believe they lied about their knowledge of Louima's torture in the two
years after the incident. According to the prosecution, Bruder and Wiese
lied to investigators in an attempt to protect Schwarz. Bruder and Wiese
were accused of beating Louima on the way to the 70th Precinct on Aug.
7, 1997 but were acquitted of the charges at a trial in June.  Schwarz,
however, was convicted of civil rights violations and conspiracy. He was
accused of standing guard at a bathroom door and holding Louima down
while his partner, Justin Volpe, sodomized him with a broken wooden
 stick.  Detective Eric Turetzky's testimony at last year's trial led to
Schwarz's conviction. Last year, he testified that he saw Volpe brandish
a broken broomstick and lead Louima from the bathroom to the prison
cell. In a taped interview with the police Internal Affairs Bureau, he
claimed he saw Schwarz take Louima into the bathroom.  However, on
Wednesday, Turetzky told jurors he only saw Schwarz walk Louima towards
the bathroom, not take him into it.  Since his conviction, Schwarz has
maintained his innocence and insisted that jurors convicted the wrong
man. So far, in both trials, Louima has failed to positively identify
Schwarz as Volpe's accomplice. [But, he said the second
 officer in the 70th Precinct bathroom was the same one who drove him to
the police station. Police records have shown that Schwarz was scheduled
to be the driver that night.]  Schwarz hopes an acquittal and new
evidence in his obstruction trial will help him appeal his conviction in
the civil rights trial.  Turetzky also told jurors Wednesday that
members of the police union pressured him to keep silent about the case.
 Justin Volpe's brother, Damian, a member of the Patrolmen's Benevolent
Association, asked him to "do the right thing" and "stick together."
Turetzky interpreted the advice as a plea to help cover-up Volpe and
other officers' role in Louima's beating and sodomy.