NEW YORK (CNN) – No matter how much time, David Dunlap figured out who was really behind the murder of Abner Louima. A former member of the New York City police force, his investigation went through thick and thin.
“I couldn’t bring my self together until there was one piece that ultimately would come together and be somebody who could actually testify in court,” Dunlap said on CNN’s “Agrilion with Chuck Todd.”
Dunlap began his career as a homicide detective, in 1984, four years after Louima was severely beaten and sodomized with a broomstick by Officer Justin Volpe, the federal hate crimes prosecutor says. Dunlap retired in 2008.
At the time, Louima, a Haitian immigrant, was arrested in a separate incident for selling drugs on Staten Island. Dunlap was assigned to the case, which resulted in 14 felony charges being filed against Louima and four officers. One officer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve eight years in prison. But that was just one of the officers Dunlap claims he saw in the bathroom at the 70th Precinct station house.
“If you were not a victim in that situation, or if you were not an investigating member of the NYPD, you didn’t really know what was going on, from what I was able to tell,” Dunlap said.
But as Dunlap’s investigation grew, two other officers were charged in connection with the incident:
“Timothy Loehmann, from Cleveland, Ohio, a former St. Paul’s School police officer, and First Precinct Lt. Michael Bellomo. Both of them were charged with obstruction of justice. So I was just working that case that may have been using some of their guys that were there at the time, their clearance team.”
“The impetus for going after Tim Loehmann was Ray Kelly, who was police commissioner at the time,” Dunlap said. “And I actually did evidence in a drug case in Brooklyn a couple of months before that. And that’s what I got my hands on to use against Tim Loehmann. And it was only after Ray Kelly was through with that investigation, that I was able to do what I needed to do to get [my information].”
But once Loehmann was indicted, his attorney, Neal Buccino, took advantage of Dunlap’s case to fight the charges. He called the victim’s comments “insufficient,” and “not credible or believable.”
Dunlap was informed, then pressured by his superiors to stop his work. Once he was released from that pressure, he faced the prospect of an entirely new investigation led by another lawyer named Jonathan Raymond.
“So on that day, September 10, 2008, I filed in court my request to set Mr. Loehmann’s trial for December. And he was arraigned the following day in Brooklyn. But after Mr. Buccino went to court with Loehmann and his legal team, Mr. Loehmann’s lawyer said he had no knowledge of where the surveillance tapes that we obtained were, and he asked the court to delay trial. And the judge denied that request.”
Even though the surveillance tapes existed, Loehmann went to trial for murder in the second degree and ultimately, guilty, with the Jury finding he had committed the crime and was guilty.
“So you know, I think the evidence was overwhelming.”
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