One of the two U.S. teenagers, arrested for the killing an Italian policeman, was blindfolded and handcuffed while in police custody, according to a picture that has sparked controversy.
Carabinieri Rome Commander, Francesco Gargaro, told RAI public radio on Monday “the way the suspect was treated is completely unjustified and will not be in any way tolerated’’.
A criminal investigation is ongoing to determine who blindfolded Natale Hjorth, who took the picture and who leaked it to the media, Gargaro confirmed.
Hjorth, 18, was arrested with Elder Finnegan Lee, 19, following the fatal stabbin overnight into Friday of Carabinieri policeman, Mario Cerciello Rega.
In the picture, which has been circulated widely on Italian and international media, Horth is shown sitting inside a police station, head bowed, with a band covering his eyes.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte condemned the incident and said the police officer suspected of mistreating the suspect has been removed from the case.
“To be clear: giving that treatment to a person deprived of liberty does not correspond with our legal principles and values, and actually constitutes a crime, or maybe two,’’ Conte wrote on Facebook.
Far-right Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, was more dismissive, writing on social media that “the only victim’’ in the affair is the dead officer.
Late Rega was involved in a plain-clothes operation to retrieve a backpack that Horth and Lee had allegedly stolen from a drug dealer in retaliation for being sold fake cocaine.
The police officer, whose funeral was due to take place Monday, died of multiple stab wounds.
According to Italian Police, Lee has confessed to the stabbing. (Dpa/NAN)