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a475: This Week in Haiti 19:45 1/23/2002 (fwd)

From: "[iso-8859-1] Haiti Progrès" <editor@haiti-progres.com>

"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
newsweekly. For the complete edition with other news in French
and Creole, please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100,
(fax) 718-434-5551 or e-mail at <editor@haitiprogres.com>.
Also visit our website at <www.haitiprogres.com>.

                           HAITI PROGRES
              "Le journal qui offre une alternative"

                      * THIS WEEK IN HAITI *

                        January 23 - 29, 2002
                          Vol. 19, No. 45


Once again, officers of the New York Police Department have shot
and killed a young Haitian man unjustifiably, according to many

Georgy Louisgene, 23, died in a hail of police bullets on Jan. 16
in front of an apartment building at 3501 Foster Avenue as he
desperately pleaded with officers to arrest a gang of men who had
beaten him bloody with steel bars and golf clubs. Although he
carried a carving knife and wooden gaff, his hands were in the
air and he was not a threat to the cops who shot him or to
anybody else, witnesses told Haïti Progrès. He was pronounced
dead at the scene at about 2:30 p.m..

"The cops did not have to shoot him," said Janet McQuillar, in
whose third floor apartment Louisgene had taken refuge from the
gang minutes before his death. "He did not do anything to deserve
to be shot down like a dog."

Some press reports have portrayed Louisgene as deranged. The Jan.
17 Daily News reported that he was "ranting" and exhibiting
"bizarre behavior' as he "went through the yard kissing and
groping men, women, girls and boys." This picture was drawn
largely by the police version and by the men who had taken part
in beating Louisgene.

But Louisgene's family rejects the portrayal. "Everything they
are saying about his mental condition and all that is false,"
asserted Georgy's sister, Abellard Louisgene, 25. "He was a very
funny, jovial, nice guy. He always wanted to help. He was lovable
and appreciated by everybody."

An employee, who asked not to be identified, at the CVS pharmacy
at the corner of Utica Ave. and Kings Highway, where Georgy
worked stocking shelves, echoed this characterization. "He was a
really nice guy who was really cheerful and did his job," the
employee said. "We're all shocked."

On that fateful Wednesday, Georgy was in good spirits when he
left the Nostrand Avenue home in East Flatbush, where he lived
with his parents and four siblings. He was still cheerful when he
arrived at work for his noon-to-8 p.m. shift. But around 1 p.m.,
he made a call in the front of the store to 911, the police
emergency number. Although the CVS store managers tried to find
out what the problem was, he wouldn't talk to them and left the
store in a rush.

"When he called 911 at work, he said, 'I don't want to die at
such a young age,'" a police source told the Daily News.

A short time later he was being severely beaten by several men in
front of a barren apartment building at 3501 Foster Avenue, on
the corner of Brooklyn Avenue. Some residents living in the tough
housing project there said they had seen Louisgene in the area

To flee the men beating him, Louisgene ran into the apartment

"I was watching my soap opera when I heard someone banging on my
door," Ms. McQuillar told Haïti Progrès. "He was crying, 'Help
me, help me.'" Thinking it was a neighbor she knew from upstairs,
she opened the door. Louisgene pushed his way in and pleaded with
her to close the door and protect him. "Please, please, they are
going to come and get me," he told the woman.

At first, Ms. McQuillar was scared because her nephew and his
brother-in-law were stabbed to death in a still unsolved double-
homicide in Brooklyn's Albany Ave. projects  last September.
Furthermore, Louisgene was bleeding profusely from the nose and
mouth and appeared dazed. She grabbed a stick she keeps for
protection."I hit him once with the stick saying 'Get out of my
house,'" she said. "He took the stick from me and threw it down.
When he did that, I knew I wasn't threatened. I didn't feel in

Then her 14-year-old son came into the front room. Louisgene
apparently panicked, grabbed the boy, and the two fell to the
floor, wrestling. McQuillar grabbed a wooden-handled hook and a
knife. "I said 'Get off of my son,' and started hitting him on
the back with the wooden handle," she said. "But it seemed like
he didn't even feel it. He was just afraid of me opening that
door. I've never seen panic on a man's face like that. It was
like there was some kind of monster after him."

Finally in an attempt to calm him, she put down the hook and
knife on a table by the door and again asked him to leave.
Louisgene ran to the table, grabbed the two items, and went out
the door. A few minutes later, the police shots rang out in the
courtyard of the building.

"He was gesturing to the cops and trying to tell them -- his jaw
may have been broken -- to arrest the men who had beaten him,"
McQuillar said. Instead, they shot him.

The two officers from the 67th Precinct were Sgt. James Muirhead,
30, an seven-year veteran, and Officer Joe Thompson, 25, who has
been on the force since 1997. The two cops fired eight bullets,
five or six of which struck the victim in the chest. The Brooklyn
District Attorney's office said there was an on-going
investigation into the shooting.

Meanwhile, the family has enlisted the law firm of Feder & Rodney
to carry out an investigation. "We have a lot of leads, but we
haven't confirmed anything yet," said partner Vladimir Rodney.
"But we will say that there is certainly more to this case than
meets the eye, more than has been reported. Everything is being

The official police report claims that "officers ordered the male
several times to drop this weapon [the knife or hook]. Witnesses
state that the male then moved toward the officers at which time
the officers fired striking the perp[etrator]." What crime
Louisgene was guilty of "perpetrating" is not made clear in the

But three eye-witnesses contradicted the police version. They
told the Daily News that the police only said "Drop it" once
before firing.

"The cops were down [the path leading to the courtyard in front
of the building], and he was up," said one witness who did not
want to be identified. "He was no threat to them. He was not a
threat to anybody. Nobody was around him. They just went and
shot, shot, shot."

"They could have just shot him in the leg or arm," Ms. McQuillar
said. "That boy did not deserve to die in the streets like that."

Georgy, who was going to claim U.S. citizenship on Jan. 18,  was
born in Carrefour in Port-au-Prince. He moved to Brooklyn in 1993
with his parents, Georges, 49, and Marie Andresia, 47, his three
sisters, Abellard, Cindy, 20, and Soledad, 18, and his brother,
Junior, 21. He attended Tilden High School and was planning to
attend a technical training institute.

He was also an aspiring musician, who played "mizik angagé" with
various groups in local clubs.

Ironically, Georgy marched, with his entire family, in
demonstrations protesting the killing of Patrick Dorismond, a 26-
year-old Haitian-American who was gunned down by New York City
cops on March 16, 2000 (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 18, No. 1,
3/22/2000). That killing took place following the torture of
Abner Louima in 1997 and the shooting of Amadou Diallo in 1999,
among many other cases of police brutality. "I want to ask the
entire community to help us in this struggle to find justice,"
said Abellard Louisgene in a Jan. 22 interview on Radio Lakay.
"We must put a stop to these killings."

(The Louisgene family reports that funeral arrangements have not
yet been fixed but will be announced shortly).

* Editors note: There will be a Haitian community meeting at the
Alliance des Emigrés Haïtiens at 341 Eastern Parkway (corner
Franklin Ave.) on Friday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss what
actions should be taken to protest the killing of Georgy

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