EU Watch

A Twist in the Trial Over Stefano Cucchi's Death

​There has been a twist at the hearing of the trial in which five policemen were accused of the death of Stefano Cucchi, the Roman surveyor arrested on 15 October 2009 who died at the Pertini Hospital the following week.

by Roberta Martucci Schiavi

The truth about the beating

The policeman Francesco Tedesco admitted beating up Stefano Cucchi (see more here) and also implicated his colleagues Raffaele D'Alessandro and Alessio Di Bernardo for the violent attack. The beating supposedly took place at the Roma Casilina police station. "It was a combined action. Cucchi and Di Bernardo began to argue again and to insult each other, so Di Bernardo turned around and hit Cucchi with a violent slap in the face. Then D'Alessandro kicked Cucchi hard with his foot aiming at the young man’s backside. Cucchi first lost his balance due to D'Alessandro's kick, then he was pushed in the opposite direction by Di Bernardo, falling violently on his pelvis. The young man also hit his head extremely hard. “I remember hearing the noise" Tedesco said. He continues in his statement: "I stood up and said, 'Stop, stop, what the f… are you doing? Don’t you dare!' But Di Bernardo continued in his action, pushing Cucchi and making him fall to the ground. I pushed Di Bernardo away, but before I could intervene, D'Alessandro hit Cucchi with a kick to his face (or head) while he was lying on the ground."

After the beating, Stefano supposedly remained silent, in a visible state of shock. During the interrogation in July, Tedesco said: "I approached Stefano, I helped him to get up and asked him how he was, he answered 'I'm fine, I'm a boxer'. But you could see that he was dazed. Tedesco recalls distrusting Bernardo and D'Alessandro, telling them to stay away from Cucchi. He called his superior officer, Marshal Mandolini, and told him what had happened.

"On the way back to the police station Cucchi and I were sitting back behind” continued Tedesco “it seemed to me that the situation wasn’t as tense anymore. Cucchi did not say a word and on that occasion I realised that he was very tried and in shock: he had put his hood on, kept his head down and did not say a word."

It is not clear, at the moment, whether in the interrogations made it to the prosecutor Tedesco admitted having participated to the beating with his two colleagues, but what is certain is that, for the first time, one of the defendants has declares that what was reconstructed by the prosecutor's office, starting with the beating of the young man, did in fact happen.

"They asked me to lie, I feared retaliation"

"When I was to be heard by the prosecutor, Marshal Mandolini did not explicitly threaten me but he acted in a way that did not make me feel comfortable. I understood that I could not tell the truth and I asked him what I should say to the prosecutor; also because it was the first time I was personally heard by one, and he said: 'You have to tell him that he was fine, what happened, that he was fine, that nothing happened... you understand me, then I'll take care of it, don't worry'". "At first I was very afraid for my career” Tedesco put on record “I feared retaliation and I remained silent for years, but then I was suspended and I realised that the wall was crumbling and several colleagues had begun to tell the truth."

The missing memo

The prosecutor Giovanni Musarò announced an additional investigation, which was carried out after Francesco Tedesco assessed the facts of that night in a complaint and "called out" two of the defendants for the beating. In fact, a memo was found in which Tedesco reported what had happened, although this memo allegedly later disappeared.

Alessio Di Bernardo, Raffaele D'Alessandro and Francesco Tedesco himself are all on trial, accused of involuntary manslaughter and abuse of power. Roberto Mandolini is being tried for slander and forgery, and Vincenzo Nicolardi is also accused of slander.

The prosecutor said that on 20 June 2018 Tedesco filed a complaint against unknown persons in which he says that when he learned of Cucchi's death, he drew up a report. On the basis of this instrument, the counsel for the prosecution said that a case against unknown persons had been filed, in which Tedesco himself made three statements.

Ilaria Cucchi: "The wall has collapsed"

“The wall has collapsed" wrote Ilaria Cucchi, Stefano's sister, on Facebook. "The wall has been knocked down. Now we know and many people will have to apologize to Stefano and the Cucchi family," she continues "It took nine years but finally today the truth that we have always claimed has been reported in a courtroom and with the words of one of the defendants himself, who tells about the killing of Stefano and everything that happened in the following days."

The officer who reopened the investigation: "Francesco, you have taken back your dignity"

Riccardo Casamassima has also expressed his satisfaction. The Carabinieri officer who, with his testimony, reopened the investigation into Stefano's death talked of his feelings: "Immense satisfaction, the Cucchi family was entitled to it. I got goose bumps when I heard the news. All doubts have been lifted". The policeman had told what some of his colleagues reported about the "annihilation" suffered by the young man after his arrest. For his statements Casamassima was threatened and was transferred. "For having done my duty” he said “as a man and as a policeman for having testified in the trial concerning Cucchi, who died because he was beaten up by my colleagues, I find myself suffering a lot of consequences. Until the turning point of today."