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By On This Day in NYC's History


On August 9, 1997: Abner Louima was brutally assaulted by NYPD officers after being arrested outside a Brooklyn nightclub. Louima was at Club Rendez-Vous, a nightclub in East Flatbush, when he and several other men interceded in a fight between two women. Several police officers — including officer Justin Volpe — from the 70th Precinct were dispatched to the scene. When Volpe was struck in the ensuing scuffle, he wrongly identified Louima as the perpetrator, after which Volpe arrested him. After Louima’s arrest, the officers beat the innocent Haitian man with their fists, nightsticks, and police radios on the ride to the station, after which Louima was strip-searched and put in a holding cell where the beating continued. Louima’s extensive injuries caused him to spend two months in the hospital. In the criminal trials that ensued, Volpe was sentenced to 30 years in prison without parole. Louima’s subsequent civil suit resulted in a settlement of $8.75 million.

David Friedman/Getty Images News/Getty Images

David Friedman/Getty Images News/Getty Images


On August 9th, 1992: The highly publicized revival of Tennessee Williams’ famous play Streetcar Named Desire closed at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre after 137 performances. The play starred Alec Baldwin as Stanley and Jessica Lange as Blanche and was so hugely successful that is was filmed for television.



On August 9, 1959: Rapper and record producer Kurt Walker, better known by his stage name Kurtis Blow, was born. Kurtis Blow was the first commercially successful rapper, the first to sign with a major record label, and the first to produce a certified gold record rap song. In 1979, at age twenty, Kurtis Blow was signed by Mercury Records and released his first hit “The Breaks,” which sold half a million copies and went gold. Deeply committed to his religion, Kurtis Blow now teaches ministry classes at Nyack College after becoming an ordained minister in 2009.

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