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‘Does Not Warrant a Reduction of His Sentence’: Judge Denies Early Release for Ex-Cop Convicted for 1997 Sexual Assault and Battery of Abner Louima

A judge has denied compassionate release for an ex-NYPD cop serving time for a brutal 1997 attack on a Black immigrant being held in police custody.

Former NYPD officer Justin Volpe requested compassionate release over health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Volpe has spent the past 21 years in prison for beating and sodomizing Abner Louima while he was being held in police custody in 1997.

A judge ruled Monday that’s Volpe’s health concerns don’t warrant an early release.

“He does not present any extraordinary and compelling reasons, based on the possibility of contracting COVID-19,” Judge Frederic Block said. “In any event, reconsideration of the factors does not warrant a reduction of his sentence given the grave nature and circumstances of his crime.”

Volpe committed “one of the most heinous crimes in New York City’s history” on Aug. 9, 1997, when he beat Louima, then used a jagged, broken broomstick handle to sodomize the Haitian immigrant while he was being held inside the 70th precinct in police custody following a fight.

The attack left Louima with a perforated rectum and bladder. Afterwards, Volpe told Louima he would kill him if he told anyone what happened, then went on to brag to his fellow officers about what he had done.

Volpe has mistakenly identified Louima as the person who had hit him during a confrontation with police outside of a nightclub in Brooklyn. Louima spent months recovering in the hospital as a result of the attack.

Justin Volpe (right) has spent the past 21 years in prison for beating and sodomizing Abner Louima (left) while the Haitian man was being held in police custody in 1997. (Photos: AP Archive YouTube screenshot, NY Post)

In the now-denied compassionate release application, Volpe wrote, “I do not seek to evade just punishment for my crime. I have served the overwhelming majority of the sentence.” He added, “After 21 plus years in prison, it is my family who is being punished more.” Volpe married in 2012 while still incarcerated.

In December, Volpe argued he should be released from FCI Beaumont in Texas early because he had contracted and recovered from the coronavirus and was in need of special treatment because he was suffering from long-term effects of the virus.

In response to the news that Volpe’s request for early release was denied, Louima said, “It’s not up to me whether he is released. That’s the judge’s decision and that’s what matters.”

He said in an interview with Daily News last month that he had forgiven the officer but would never forget the crime.

“It’s so many years after the crime,” Louima told The Daily News in January. “Twenty-one years is not 21 days. I think at least he’s spent enough time thinking about his actions.”

Volpe pleaded guilty to battery and sexual assault in 1998 and was sentenced by Judge Eugene Nickerson, who said, “Short of intentional murder, one cannot imagine a more barbarous misuse of power.”

Prior to the Monday ruling, federal officials staunchly opposed Volpe’s early release.

“The crimes committed by the defendant are among the most horrific crimes prosecuted in this district and left a lasting harm on Mr. Louima,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes wrote in court papers filed Monday.

Volpe is scheduled to be released on Jan. 9, 2025.

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