One Police Plaza

Cops seek reinstatement

Cleared of charges stemming from the notorious abuse case, they want their jobs restored and back pay

March 17, 2004

Two officers whose convictions were overturned in the Abner Louima brutality case have filed suit seeking reinstatement to the Police Department.

The two, Thomas Bruder and Thomas Wiese, are also seeking back pay from the time their convictions were overturned in 2002, their attorney, Stuart London, said yesterday. That would come to about $100,000 for each, London said.

London said that Wiese sent a letter to the department in November 2002 requesting reinstatement but that the department did not respond.

Wiese and Bruder, he said, "understand it would be difficult to return to the NYPD, but they just wanted to be treated fairly."

"To this point, we have not been given a trial date for reinstatement hearing," he said. "By filing this motion, we are looking to expedite the process and maybe find a judge sympathetic to their plight."

Lt. Brian Burke, a department spokesman, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Bruder and Wiese were convicted in 2000 of obstruction of justice in perhaps the most notorious brutality case in the department's history.

A third officer, Justin Volpe, pleaded guilty to sodomizing Louima with a stick in the bathroom of the 70th Precinct station house on Aug 9, 1997 and is serving a prison term. A fourth officer, Charles Schwarz, agreed to serve five years in prison to end his perjury case.

The obstruction charges against Wiese and Bruder involved statements claiming that Schwarz did not participate in the bathroom assault.

A federal appeals court overturned their convictions on Feb. 28, 2002, ruling that their statements did not adversely affect the sitting grand jury.

"It is critical to note that petitioners were not found guilty of any of the violence perpetrated upon Mr. Louima in the station house bathroom," the motion reads. "Nor were petitioners ever charged with taking any part in that bathroom attack."

©2004 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.