The Italian minority police union COISP (Coordinamento per l’Indipendenza Sindacale delle Forze di Polizia) staged a sit-in in solidarity with the four agents found guilty of excessive force leading to the death of Federico Aldrovandi, an 18 year-old young man from Ferrara who was murdered on 25 September 2005, when he was returning home after a night out with friends. The sit-in took place on 27 March 2013 – straight after a meeting called “Policemen in jail, criminals out, is the law equal for everyone?” – in Ferrara’s Piazza Savonarola, just below the workplace of Aldrovandi’s mother, an employee of the municipality.
The COISP sit-in called for some kind of community service order instead of custody for the four agents (Paolo Forlani, Monica Segatto, Enzo Pontani and Luca Pollastri).
The sit-in has been widely condemned because it seemed clear that the place was chosen to provoke Aldrovandi’s mother, Patrizia Moretti. She left the office and took to the streets to show a large picture of her dead son. On seeing the shocking image, the demonstrators turned their backs on her. Just before that, Tiziano Tagliani, the mayor of Ferrara, had asked the demonstrators to continue their sit-in just a few meters away but he was ignored.
In a press release, Franco Maccari, the COISP general secretary said that they “didn’t know that Patrizia Moretti was a municipality employee and that her office was in Piazza Savonarola.” Maccari also said that “they’d like to kick the ass of people trying to exploit these facts.” Italian journalist Checchino Antonini points out that this particular police union is always trying to gain media attention. Antonini also reports that Maccari has already called for a demonstration in Piazza Alimonda (Genoa) on 20 July, the anniversary of the murder of Carlo Giuliani, in solidarity with police on duty during the G8 summit.
Patrizia Moretti made a moving and dignified statement on Facebook:
Some respect and dignity had been brought back — a ‘small justice’ – thanks to the sacrifice of so many ‘men of good will’, with every right to criticism and solidarity.
But today, on a bleak or, better, on a black morning, some people who call themselves ‘police officers’ have turned their back on a mother: a mother whose son was choked, beaten up and finally murdered for no reason by the ‘colleagues’ of these police officers, on an infamous night, on September 25, 2005. As a human being, I can’t bear this. I would simply like to ask them: what if the roles had been reversed? Would have you done the same? Perhaps now you’d be standing in prison, if that dying person restrained on the ground had been your own flesh and blood.
This is not a matter of left or right: it’s a matter of respecting human life. Yet, many fail to grasp this. Turning one’s back is not respecting human life: it’s indifference. And indifference kills, as it did on that damned morning.”
Patrizia Moretti decided to file a complaint against Franco Maccari because, as Corriere della Sera reports, she could not bear him saying that “the photo of her dead son was a montage.”
Patrizia Moretti was telephoned by Laura Boldrini, the recently elected President of the Chamber of Deputies, who expressed her solidarity. Later, elected members of the Senate also stood to condemn the episode. The Minister of the Interior Anna Maria Cancellieri also condemned it. In solidarity with Federico Aldrovandi’s family, Anonymous attacked COISP site, whose homepage now shows a long statement shaming the union for their misplaced solidarity and the Italian police for their disregard of human rights. Friends, family and supporters will stage a sit-in in Ferrara on Friday 29 March, in memory of Federico and in solidarity with Patrizia Moretti.
The murder of Federico Aldrovandi and the struggle for justice
On September 25 2005, Federico Aldrovandi was walking back home after a night spent with friends in the nearby city of Bologna. At about 6 in the morning he was stopped by a police patrol. Police officers claimed to have been attacked so they asked for backup. The four police officers beat up Federico Aldrovandi with unjustifiable violence (two of their batons were broken in the attack). Police then called an ambulance but when it arrived they found the young man crushed on the ground, handcuffed on his back and dead from “compression asphyxia”. His parents were only informed around 11 o’clock that morning.
On 2 January 2006, Patrizia Moretti started a blog to tell the story of her son’s death, asking for witnesses to come forward and give statements in order to get some justice. The case slowly gained media attention, especially through the work of Checchino Antonini and Liberazione.
The first forensic tests claimed that Federico Aldrovandi had died because of drugs he had taken during the night, but these results were proved wrong by two other forensic analyses: Aldrovandi died because he had been held so that he was unable to breathe.
There were signs of attempts to obstruct the course of justice by the police themselves. Two further trials followed (Aldrovandi bis and Aldrovandi ter) and police officers were convicted.
Each of three appeals has confirmed the first sentence: 3 years and 6 months given to to each of the four police officers. They will only spend 6 months in jail because of the “pardon law” (Law 241/2006) which introduced a pardon for crimes committed before 2 May 2006. One of the police officers, Monica Segatto, is serving a domiciliary sentence rather than being in prison. None of the four has lost their job.
text [en] Corriere della Sera
text [en] Italian prisons and detention