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School of the Italian Americas?

by Reuters/deedee Thursday, Aug. 09, 2001 at 4:25 PM
dhalleck@weber.ucsd.edu

The police who raided the schools with batons smashing heads were trained by LA cops.

Genoa police unit trained by U.S. sheriffs

ROME (Reuters) - An elite Italian police unit which carried out a

bloody raid against protesters at a Group of Eight summit in Genoa

was trained by U.S. police chiefs, an Italian newspaper reported

Tuesday.

For four months, 70 specially selected officers were trained by two

Los Angeles police sheriffs. A larger number of police also received

a week-long training course from the Americans, according to the

Communist daily Liberazione.

"The prime responsibility of the two Los Angeles sheriffs was to

train the men from the special unit in the use of American aluminum

batons," an unidentified policeman who took part in the one-week

course was quoted as saying.

"From the start, they openly criticized the way in which Italian

police carry out public order," he said.

Not only is the use of foreign expertise likely to cause

consternation, but the fact the officers came from Los Angeles, a

city scarred by mass riots in 1992 following the police beating of

black motorist Rodney King, also raises serious questions.

In a midnight assault on a school which was acting as a headquarters

for protest groups during the July 20-22 summit, 62 people were

injured and 93 arrested. Many were laid out on stretchers with

blood-stained faces.

Reporters who entered the school soon afterwards saw blood stains on

the walls and broken teeth scattered on the floor. At least one

protester has since undergone brain surgery.

Allegations of police brutality have flooded in and three top police

officials have been transferred by the interior minister, who has

faced calls for his own resignation.

The Interior Ministry declined to make a comment at this time on the

involvement of the American sheriffs.

As well as brutality, there were also allegations that police

sexually assaulted female protesters. Two weeks after the summit,

nearly 50 demonstrators are still in prison. Many say their human and

civil rights have been violated.

The police source told the paper the American sheriffs had said

repeatedly that "in Los Angeles all we need is a nucleus of 20 cops

to disperse hundreds of demonstrators because we can fire rubber

bullets which wound, but don't kill."

On the first day of the Genoa summit, a 23-year-old protester who was

attacking a police vehicle was shot and killed by an Italian

paramilitary policeman.

The source also said that the week-long course he had been assigned

to was more like a military boot camp.

"We marched, learned how to form shield defenses and how to jump

through fire or out of a moving vehicle," he said.

"It was more like a medieval tournament. In the end we were doing

purely military training. There seemed no difference between police

officers and soldiers."

13:40 08-07-01

Copyright 2001 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or

redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar

means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of

Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the

content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. All active

hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

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correction corrector Friday, Aug. 10, 2001 at 11:58 AM
Electronic Liberazione article lm Sunday, Aug. 12, 2001 at 2:40 PM
Crick & Crock middle ages Diaz experiment translator Monday, Aug. 13, 2001 at 11:40 AM
It was the Sherrif's LA-IMC Friday, Aug. 17, 2001 at 7:16 PM

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