Italian police probe blindfolding of San Franciscan held in officer’s killing

The brutal interrogation of a suspect is abhorrent. 

Given the world wide shock and outrage evident in the global media it is understandable why this suspect  in the murder of an unarmed Italian officer is being treated brutally.

The Italian authorities, representative of the nation, are angry and mortified.

Excerpted from Los Angeles Times, New York Post and CNN 7.28.2019

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Italian police have launched an internal investigation after a young California man arrested in connection with the killing of a Rome police officer was handcuffed and blindfolded during interrogation.

The pair, classmates in ritzy Mill Valley were allegedly furious that instead of cocaine, a drug dealer pedalled “a different substance” when they set up a buy in Trastevere, a popular tourist spot in the city known for its nightlife.

A photo published by Italian media on Sunday showed Gabriel Christian Natale Hjorth, 18, sitting in an office of Italy’s Carabinieri police with his head bowed, his hands cuffed behind his back and a piece of cloth tied around his eyes.

“We disassociate ourselves with this kind of behavior and we are investigating who was responsible,” said a Carabinieri spokesman, who said he did not know why the American had been blindfolded.

Natale Hjorth and Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, were arrested on Friday in Rome following the stabbing death of Carabinieri officer Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, (shown above)  in the early hours of Friday.


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The two young men, who were high school classmates in Mill Valley near San Francisco and were reportedly vacationing in Rome, had purchased what they thought were drugs from a street dealer hours earlier, authorities said, only to find that instead of cocaine they had been sold ground-up aspirin.

To get even they allegedly stole a bag from a man they believed was an accomplice of the dealer, demanding 100 euros and a gram of cocaine for its return, police said.

The man, however, informed the police, who sent two plainclothes officers to the rendezvous.

The two officers, including Cerciello Rega, announced they were police, but Elder allegedly stabbed Cerciello Rega eight times before fleeing with Natale Hjorth, authorities said. The police said Elder later confessed after the knife was found in the hotel room the teens were sharing.


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