NEW YORK — Thousands of protesters marched on a police precinct station Saturday where a Haitian immigrant says he was tortured and sodomized with a toilet plunger a week ago by two police officers.
"KKK must go!" the protesters chanted on a sweltering August afternoon. Demonstrators, many waving plungers, became increasingly hostile and shouted obscenities and insults at officers who stood impassively outside the 70th Precinct in Brooklyn.
There was a brief scuffle when some in the emotional crowd tried to storm the barricades outside the precinct, but police reported no arrests or injuries. Many in the predominantly Haitian crowd, which filled the block outside the station house, waved flags from their native land.
Police estimated the crowd at 4,000 people.
Demonstrators engaged in exchanges with officers at the nightclub where the alleged victim, Abner Louima, was arrested for disorderly conduct last weekend.
Then they marched two miles to the precinct station, where they joined a second protest led by mayoral candidate the Rev. Al Sharpton. The rally there began about 12:30 p.m. EDT and stretched into the early evening.
"They look the other way as if it is never going to happen to them," demonstrator Quincy St. George said of the surrounding police. "All of those on duty should be arrested because they heard [Louima] scream."
Louima said that when he was taken to the station house, officers sodomized him with a plunger in a bathroom while shouting racial slurs at him. As a result, the precinct commander has been transferred and 12 officers pulled off active duty as the investigation continues.
Officers Charles Schwarz, 31, and Justin Volpe, 25, were indicted Friday on charges of aggravated sexual abuse and first-degree assault. Both face up to 50 years in prison if convicted.
Police Commissioner Howard Safir told the "CBS Evening News" that he believes other officers were involved.
"We have one or more individuals or more, at least two, maybe four, maybe five police officers who committed a crime," he said. "They're criminals."
Outside the precinct, Chief of Patrol Wilbur Chapman said: "The relationship between the police and the community has been fractured. But we're going to work very hard to restore the faith of the community in the 70th Precinct."
One protester was carrying a blown-up picture of Volpe with the words, "Devil in a blue suit." Volpe allegedly used racial slurs while assaulting Louima, and Schwarz allegedly held Louima down.
Louima, 30, remained in an intensive care unit Saturday, recovering from a tear to his colon and a laceration to his bladder.
He watched the protest on television and "felt very good that people are upset about what happened and that they were making their voices heard," said his lawyer, Carl Thomas, who attended the demonstration.