The White Wall of Silence

Fellow cops testified against Justin Volpe, but why did it take them so long?

Suppose that on one fateful night in August 1997, New York City cop Justin Volpe had contented himself with pummeling Abner Louima with his nightstick instead of ramming a broom handle into Louima's rectum and then waving it in front of his face. Suppose that after that vicious assault, Volpe had not pranced around the precinct house with the blood-and-feces-stained stick, inviting other cops to examine it. And suppose the victim had not made the headline-grabbing (though phony) allegation that his tormentors had exulted, "This is Giuliani time!"--a reference to the city's tough-talking Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. There would be a good...

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