Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi spoke yesterday of the Verona Police Brutality investigation which has led to the arrest of five officers. The investigation of 17 others was “of enormous gravity”, he added.
Italy’s Interior Minister spoke yesterday as more details emerged of Verona police brutality.
“The events emerging from the Verona enquiry, if confirmed, would be extremely serious, damaging first and foremost to the dignity of the victims, but also to the honour and reputation of thousands of women and men of the State Police who daily perform their service to citizens with dedication and sacrifice”, Piantedosi said.
He vowed “the judiciary and the State Police itself will shed full light on what happened”.
The case, in which street people and migrants in custody were allegedly tortured by being used as ‘mops’ to clean up their own urine, has led to shocked headlines in Italy. The focus is now back on the move by the ruling rightwing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party to rescind the crime of torture from the criminal code.
What are the Verona police brutality accusations?
The Verona public prosecutor’s office is investigating alleged episodes of torture, mistreatment and embezzlement. On Tuesday, there were arrests of five police officers on duty at the Veneto city’s flying squad.
Against the 17, the office has applied to preliminary investigations judge (GIP) Livia Magri to apply “interdiction measures”. These measures include suspension from duty or transfers, the sources said.
One of the victims of alleged police brutality in Verona was used as a floor rag to mop up urine, case documents have shown.
In one episode, two of the suspects are accused not only of beating a person in custody for identification purposes but also for forcing him to urinate on the floor and then using him as a “mop to clean up”, according to the pre-trial detention order.
“It cannot be denied that through their conduct all the suspects have betrayed their function, suppressing the rights and freedoms of people under their authority (and) offending their dignity as people, creating disorder themselves and compromising public safety, committing crimes rather than preventing them, in this respect clearly taking advantage of their status, even committing fraudulent misrepresentation in public acts with worrying ease,” wrote the preliminary investigations judge.
The five suspects stand accused of crimes including torture, bodily harm and abuse of office in relation to alleged acts of violence. It relates to the period between July 2022 and March 2023.
Reassigning the officers
They had already been moved to new roles after investigators concluded a probe into the alleged brutality.
Verona Police Chief Roberto Massucci also moved some other officers from their roles on grounds they may have failed to take action to prevent the violence or failed to report it.
“I thank the Verona prosecutors’ office for the trust given to the State police by assigning its mobile squad with the investigation regarding officers from the same department,” said national Chief of Police Vittorio Pisani.
“The moral standing of our administration enables us to face this moment with the dignity and composure of always”.