While we were in lockdown, a group of Carabinieri from Piacenza dealt and tortured
An investigation by the prosecutor's office has discovered the existence of a real criminal association in uniform, which has committed very serious crimes at the worst time of the pandemic in Italy.
For the first time in the history of Italy, yesterday the judiciary seized an entire police station (the "Levante" of Piacenza) because every type of crime was committed inside it - to the point that investigators spoke of circumstances and "Gomorrah" attitudes.
The Odysseus operation, coordinated by the prosecutor Grazia Pradella, put a total of 22 people under investigation, including ten carabinieri. Five of them ended up in prison, one (the station commander) is under house arrest, three have the obligation to sign and another the obligation to stay. In essence, only a single carabiniere on duty at that station was immaculate.
As the investigating judge Luca Milani wrote in the precautionary custody order, “it was not easy to realize [...] that behind the always friendly and smiling faces of alleged servants of the State, crossed several times in the corridors and classrooms of the court of Piacenza , the perpetrators of very serious crimes could conceal themselves. "
And indeed, the disputed crimes are very many: there is talk of drug trafficking, extortion, receiving stolen property, abuse of office, ideological falsification, fraud against the State, private violence, illegal arrests and torture. The crimes would have been committed starting in 2017, with a marked acceleration in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the accusation, in fact, during the lockdown the carabinieri took care of the supply and custody of the drugs, kept in contact with the drug dealers and carried out relay activities on their behalf so that there was no lack of availability of substances and Piacenza. Sometimes drugs were obtained directly from the kidnappings. "Uagliò, you have to make it disappear as soon as possible," says an intercepted soldier, "I found a kilo and a half, I seized the rest, I kept this good one. I made a hit of the madonna."
For the rest, the box that pops out of the wiretapping and the cards is a kind of Italian remake of The Shield. In another conversation, a carabiniere prides himself on having made a "criminal association" in the shape of a pyramid: "I'm on it, you and him, okay? We're out of reach, okay? Nobody should shit on us."
The investigators also reconstructed several beatings that took place inside the barracks against foreign citizens and alleged drug dealers. In March, the suspects arrested a pusher of Nigerian origin and beat him wildly, so as to leave a pool of blood on the ground. "When I saw the patch of blood," said one of them, "I said 'we killed him."
In another case, the bug installed in the offices records live the beating of a citizen of Egyptian origin who repeatedly explains that he has nothing with him. At every justification you can hear the noise of the fists, while the carabinieri rant with phrases like "are you seeing how much time you make us waste?". The man invokes mercy, he also starts crying and has sobs - writes Corriere della Sera - "perhaps induced by a technique similar to waterboarding." It is in that audio that the judge for the preliminary investigations identified the crime of torture.The cards also offer favors for trusted drug dealers. One of the carabinieri, also in recent months, is presented "equipped" (ie armed) by a Treviso dealer to get an Audi A4 at a bargain price. The soldier beat and threatens the employees, and one of them "pissed on himself" in fear. In an intercepted conversation, another suspect talks about the expedition and says: “Do you know Gomorrah? Look, it was the same. You must see the slaps he gave him. "
The order also reveals the standard of living of the investigated carabinieri, absolutely disproportionate to their salary, as well as a sensational bravado ("they will never come to us"). One of these was the owner of a villa with a swimming pool where - in total disdain for the coronavirus containment measures - he organized parties and gatherings.
A couple of answers for those who continue to film people in the queue or on the media
For Easter, for example, a neighbor had called 112 to report a gathering in the garden; however, when the patrol arrived, the military realized that it was the home of the colleague and left. The operator later shot the audio of the call to the arrested carabiniere, who said he "wanted to hear the voice to understand if it is my neighbor, to remove the whim."
And again with regard to the disdain of the lockdown, the prosecutor Pradella reported another rather exemplary episode during the press conference held yesterday. In the toughest moment of the first wave, one of the investigated carabinieri "signs and countersigns a self-certification to allow the drug dealer to move to Lombardy to get the drug."
Basically, while the Italians were at home and maybe they got fines for walking in the wrong place, those who had to watch over the rules passed and tortured in total tranquility - and they did it convinced to get away with it, because the uniform placed them at above the law.
"All the most serious offenses were committed in the lockdown," said the prosecutor. "I struggle to define these 'carabinieri' subjects, because the behaviors are criminal. There is nothing legitimate in behavior. "
For its part, the provincial commander Stefano Savo spoke of a "blow to the heart" and guaranteed "total willingness to collaborate to shed light on the facts." Also yesterday, the carabinieri weapon released a statement announcing "the suspension from employment against the recipients of the judicial order," adding that "the very serious episodes under investigation [are] further aggravated by the immeasurable discredit they throw" on the body.
The reactions of the political world have been more or less in agreement — in the sense that, from the center-right to the Five Star Movement, confidence in the carabinieri has been reaffirmed and the usual rhetorical figure of the "rotten apples" to be removed from the healthy basket has been brought up. Lega's secretary Matteo Salvini said that "the eventual mistake of a few" should not be "the excuse for muddying women and men in uniform."
However, and without necessarily bringing up Stefano Cucchi's murder, if one delves into the news for a moment, one realizes that there are several similar "errors". To remain in the same city, in 2013 four policemen on duty at the police station were arrested for buying and selling cocaine together with a gang of pusher.
In short, the case of Piacenza is undoubtedly very serious; but it does not come out of nowhere, and is less isolated than it might appear at first glance.