activist defense

on the intersection of activism and legal systems

Tag: carlo giuliani

carlo giuliani’s relatives sue former police officer and deputy police commissioner

During anti-G8 demonstrations in July 2001, police shot and drove over protester Carlo Giuliani in Genoa, killing him. An Italian court dismissed the criminal case against the officer who shot Giuliani in the head, however, finding the officer acted in self-defense because Giuliani was preparing to throw a fire extinguisher at a trapped police van. Today Giuliani’s relatives filed a civil suit against former police officer Mario Placanica and deputy police commissioner Adriano Lauro regarding Giuliani’s untimely death. According to an Italian daily newspaper article,

Carlo Giuliani’s death occurred during two days of mayhem that took place when more than 300,000 demonstrators converged on Genoa for the summit. In total, 252 demonstrators said they were spat at, verbally and physically humiliated or threatened with rape while being held at … a detention centre in the Bolzaneto barracks. During a night raid by police at the Diaz school, which was being used by G8 protesters as sleeping quarters, three people were left comatose and 26 had to be taken to [the] hospital.

On June 14, Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation upheld seven prison terms handed down to police officers and prison doctors for brutality against protesters. Giuliani’s death, however, was never investigated.

police officer acquitted of killing homeless newspaper salesman during 2009 g20 protests

As Ian Tomlinson walked away from police lines during a 2009 G20 protest in London, officer Simon Harwood struck him from behind with a baton and pushed him to the ground. Tomlinson collapsed fewer than three minutes later. A medical student, Lucy Apps, tried to save his life, but he died shortly afterward. He was 47 years old.

A pathologist named Freddy Patel said Tomlinson died from heart failure, but medical authorities have suspended Patel twice due to mistakes he made in other postmortem investigations. Three other pathologists said Tomlinson died from internal bleeding consistent with being shoved to the ground. Today, after four days of deliberations, a jury found Harwood not guilty of manslaughter. The jury was not told about Patel’s prior suspensions.

A previous jury, which examined the incident to determine the cause of death, concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Harwood unlawfully killed Tomlinson. (Neither jury would have had incontrovertible evidence of Harwood’s brutality had it not been captured on video by a New York resident in London for business.) Tomlinson’s family plans to initiate a civil case.

As police at demonstrations often run amok, endangering protesters and bystanders alike, activists repeatedly see how difficult it is to hold officers accountable. On a Friday afternoon eleven years ago tomorrow, for example, police shot and drove over anti-globalization protester Carlo Giuliani in Genoa, killing him. An Italian court dismissed the case against the officer who shot Giuliani in the head, however, finding the officer acted in self-defense because Giuliani was preparing to throw a fire extinguisher at a trapped police van.