Fourteen years ago, the symbol of police brutality was engendered in the 70th precinct station house in Brooklyn when a 30-year-old Haitian immigrant was violently and involuntarily forced into the dialogue for police accountability when officer Justin Volpe sodomized him with a broken plunger stick and shoved it in his faces. Since the infamous Abner Louima case, the now 44-year-old received an $8.1 million settlement in 2001 and continues to vouch for better police conduct and stronger relations between officers and black communities. As for Volpe, he is still serving his 30 year sentence.
In light of the anniversary of 1997′s heinous events, I think that this is the most appropriate time for us to evaluate how police relations stand in urban communities today and to re-energize ourselves for a tireless but obtainable adjustment. By evaluating and improving police conduct and relations in urban communities, we are also addressing a tense “us-and-them” mentality that may contribute to the mass incarceration of black males.