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In the biggest settlement of a single police brutality claim in New York history, the city and the police union have tentatively agreed to pay $9 million to a Haitian immigrant tortured in a stationhouse bathroom with a broken broomstick, The Associated Press has learned. Lawyers for the city, police and the immigrant, Abner Louima, were scheduled to meet with a federal magistrate in Brooklyn on Wednesday afternoon, possibly to complete the settlement. Legal sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said the deal would be around $9 million, paid jointly by the city and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. A settlement would close a notorious case that touched off protests accusing police of singling out minorities for abuse and strained relations between blacks and New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Louima was arrested in a brawl outside a Brooklyn nightclub in 1997. He was handcuffed and taken to the 70th Precinct stationhouse. Officer Justin Volpe — mistakenly believing Louima had punched him — sought revenge by sodomizing Louima with a broken broomstick. Volpe pleaded guilty to federal charges and is serving 30 years. A jury found another officer, Charles Schwarz, guilty of pinning Louima down during the assault; four other officers were convicted of lying about what happened. Charges against Louima were later dropped. Louima sued for $155 million three years ago, claiming officers conspired to create a “blue wall of silence and lies to obstruct justice.” The civil rights suit accused police and PBA officials of condoning an “environment in which the most violent police officers believed they would be insulated” from prosecution. An earlier settlement agreement was abandoned in March. Under that deal, Louima would have received $9 million from the city and the PBA but would have dropped his demand for reforms in the way the police department deals with officers accused of abuse. It was not immediately clear how the new settlement would address department operations. The AP reported last month that the federal government has shelved a civil rights case against the department that it started after Louima’s torture. Several cities, including Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, have avoided litigation with the federal government by agreeing to settlements that require independent oversight of police. Giuliani has called the city’s police “the most restrained large-city police department in the country.” The 40,000-officer department still faces a separate civil rights investigation by the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan into allegations of racial profiling. That probe followed the 1999 slaying of an unarmed West African immigrant, Amadou Diallo, in a hail of 41 bullets fired by four white officers. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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