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Five Italian Police Officers Arrested for Brutality in Verona: Investigation Reveals Disturbing Accounts of Torture and Abuse

On June 6, 2023, five Italian police officers were arrested in Verona, facing charges of police brutality. The investigation undertaken by the Verona Mobile Squad started in the Autumn of 2022. It was initiated after a telephone interception related to another investigation. During that phone call an officer bragged to his girlfriend about how he hit someone he arrested to put them “in their place.”

The arrest order issued by the GIP (Judge for Preliminary Investigations) claimed that the policeman “told his girlfriend, interspersing the narrative with laughter and amused comments, the beating of one of the victims.” The explicit and violent parts of their conversations, in which the man laughed about his violent actions, were detailed in the document.

The five police officers mentioned previously, comprising one inspector and four officers, were on duty at the Nucleo Volanti (police patrol control) at the time of the incidents. Many incidents of these officers who tortured foreigners and homeless in detentions have been brought to light.    

One of the reported victims is Nicolae Daju, a homeless man of Romanian origin. As he recounted, he was sitting in a bar when the policemen asked him for his identification papers. Furthermore, Daju stated that the police officials took him to their car and locked him in a room. He claims that he was punched and pepper-sprayed. Additionally, Daju was forced to urinate on the floor and was pushed down by the officers, who dragged his body on the ground. 

The five police officers face charges of torture, aggravated injury, embezzlement, ideological forgery, and abuse of office. They have been placed under house arrest, and the investigations to uncover the truth behind these events are expected to be lengthy. 

During the interrogation before the GIP on June 14, four of the officers chose to exercise their right not to answer. One of them, Roberto da Rold, decided to partially confess. Da Rold's lawyer Massimo dal Ben states that his client has made "partial admissions, contextualised the situations for which he is being investigated, downplaying the allegations of torture.” Consequently, the judge decided to suspend Da Rold’s house arrest and remove him from duty for a period of 12 months.

17 other policemen are undergoing investigation and were subsequently reassigned to administrative roles after being removed from their previous positions.

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi states that if the events were to be confirmed, “they would be extremely serious, damaging not only the dignity of the victims but also to the honour and reputation of thousands of women and men of the State Police.” Piantedosi later added that “the judiciary and the State Police itself will shed full light on what happened.”

The incident sparked strong reactions from the political sphere, with many politicians expressing regret over the situation and reaffirming their trust in the justice system. The response of the public was equally fervent, particularly since another incident of police brutality had come to light less than two weeks earlier. On May 24, a foreign transgender woman in Milan was physically attacked by police during an arrest despite posing no threat to the officers.

Amnesty International Spokesperson Riccardo Noury remarked that “there are not only 'rotten apples' but Verona shows that there is not, at least yet, a 'rotten system'.” His comment seems to echo the sentiments of many others who appreciate the fact that the police themselves took the initiative to investigate the situation. This case stands in contrast to most instances where videos or photos of the incidents are published prompting public pressure for the police to take action. 

In conclusion, yet another incident of police violence has surfaced. Four policemen remain under house arrest, while one has been suspended from his position for a duration of 12 months. The investigation is anticipated to be extensive and intricate, reflecting the gravity of the case. Additionally, 17 other officers are currently under investigation, further emphasizing the breadth of the inquiry.

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