This September, we witnessed the Supreme Court reject Mark Duggan’s family’s request to appeal the 2014 ruling that stated that his murder by the police was a lawful killing. Just a few days ago, the judges of the Italian Supreme court acquitted the three ‘carabinieri’ accused of manslaughter for the death of Riccardo Magherini, which took place on the 3rd March 2014 in Florence. Is there ever justice when the State is to be found guilty?
At the end of this month (November 2018), four close friends of Federico Aldrovandi will be travelling from Ferrara, Italy, to the London Action Resource Centre to participate in the first of a two-part event about deaths in Italian police custody as representatives of the association named after him. Federico Aldrovandi was 18 years old when he was killed during a police stop and search in 2005 (just a month after Jean Charles de Menez was killed by police in Stockwell, after they wrongly identified him as being one of the fugitives of the failed bombings). Their presence at this event will give a better insight into how the community in Ferrara was affected by the death of the young Federico, and the legal battle that friends and family have been fiercely fighting against the state. It will be an opportunity to debate the similarities and differences of these legal and social fights against the police state in Italy, UK and elsewhere.
Something that is clear, is that the culture of impunity continues in both countries. The police nor the state are hardly ever being held accountable for their fatal failures, and if / even when they are, it is after strenuous legal and political battles, and only because initiated by strongly motivated family members.
Learning about what friends and family of Federico have gone through in order to try to gain some justice is extremely relevant to the reality in this country. Only last year, in 2017, the Independent Office for Police Conduct found that year there had been the highest number of deaths during or after police custody, a total of 23 people dead, 17 of which had been subject to the use of force or restraint. Despite there having been reported 1677 deaths in police custody (or otherwise following contact with the police) since 1990, there has never been murder or manslaughter prosecution of a police officer or force in England and Wales.
What lessons can we learn, if any, from the cases of Federico Aldrovandi and Stefano Cucchi? How are local communities affected by police brutality? And finally, what are the measures required in order to gain justice?
Join us in conversation at LARC on these two dates, the 29th November and the 13th December, both at 7pm. Vegan food will be provided.
~Alex and Vi
Image credit: Jacopo Aneghini Photography