Rasman: officers sentenced


The Rasman trial

The Rasman murder will not make any of the television news headlines, nor will it even be discussed in any of the television studio lounges where Mrs Franzoni and the Guidonia rape cases were once discussed. No one will mention that, for the first time ever in the history of the Republic, a number of the Government’s Police Officers have been found guilty of culpable homicide. In our Police Force, there are any number of men and women that put their lives on the line for the citizens on a daily basis. Hundreds of names of policemen and women murdered by the mafia and by terrorism appear in the Calendar of Lay Saints. And it for this very reason that events such as those that occurred in Triest must be made public in order to avoid any future repetition. So that the Italians can feel free to turn to the Police, who are supposed to protect them, to protect them and nothing more.


The attack

The trial

The sentence

Riccardo's family

A historic judgement

Daniele Martinelli: "Good day to everyone, I am here at the Court in Triest in order to follow the proceedings in the Riccardo Rasman trial. I advise sensitive readers not to watch this video because we will soon be screening certain images showing the state he was in when he was found after the crime that was committed by at least three police officers. These acts were perpetrated on a young man that was affected by paranoid schizophrenia, an illness he contracted back in nineteen ninety-two, fourteen years prior to his death, during his military service, as a result of a serious round of hazing that he went through at the Cordovado Air Force barracks.
In recent years, Riccardo was being treated at the mental health centre in Triest, so he was well known to and registered with the forces of law and order given that ten years ago already, back in nineteen ninety-two, they had arrived at his parents’ house with members that were receiving treatment at the mental health centre.

The attack

A number of witnesses reported hearing shots being fired, the sound of fireworks going off, and the doorman, a man called Pollanz, called the Police to come and investigate what was going on. The Police arrived at the entrance to Riccardo home, knocked and when Riccardo failed to open the door, they proceeded to call for reinforcements. Members of the armed emergency unit arrived with crowbars and gained access by forcing the door. At this point, they went into Riccardo’s apartment, which was in darkness.
Riccardo’s mood, afflicted as he was by paranoid schizophrenia, deteriorated when he either realised or feared that he was being attacked by persons unknown, because this is the nature of the illness or the feeling of persecution. Therefore, given the circumstances, Riccardo was experiencing precisely that which he already feared, or that the illness led him to fear.
He found himself being attacked by these police officers who threw him down onto his bed, and then proceeded to hit him while one officer clamped his one of his wrists with handcuffs and another officer clamped his other wrist. And what did the third officer do? He proceeded to tie his ankles together using a piece of wire because, given his state of anxiety and agitation, Riccardo was obviously reacting rashly at that moment. While he was thus bound hand and foot, the Police Officers continued to hit Riccardo, so much so that the autopsy even revealed a wound on his head, probably caused by a heavy object, perhaps even the crowbar they had used earlier although this is not certain, but the fact remains that at this point he was lifted up bodily and pushed to the floor.
He was then given a few kicks to his back and began vomiting, and one of the two police officers proceeded to sit on his back, at which point Riccardo, tied up as he was, died of asphyxia because, in the interim, the handcuffs had been joined together behind his back. In that position, with someone sitting on his back it is clear that the person has no other option but to die of asphyxia. It took a few minutes for Riccardo to die, he did not die immediately.

The trial

Given that this tragedy occurred, an official inquiry was launched, headed up by public prosecutor Pietro Montrone who, in about April of last year, asked that the case be archived given the exceptional circumstances and the officers’ need to protect themselves. However, the Rasman family’s defence team, headed up by attorney Giovanni Di Lullo, submitted the findings of an independent investigation and opposed the archiving of the case. The objection was admitted by the Preliminary Investigation Judge, who set a date for the preliminary hearing, during which the public prosecutor, after having read the findings of the investigation submitted by the Rasman family’s defence attorney, said: “Let’s not beat around the bush. I hereby withdraw my application for the archiving of this case because, in my opinion, certain facts that have emerged from this investigation need to be investigated further and indicate that there may be sufficient grounds for suspecting that the police officers may be guilty of culpable homicide. Therefore, the hearing was postponed to last week, still here in the Court of Triest and the accused opted for the expedited procedure, which was held in a closed courtroom with only the persons involved present, closed to the public and consequently also to the press, unless the accused themselves request that the proceedings be opened to the public.
We waited to hear the sentence, which failed to materialise even after a full day of hearings. Until today, when a second hearing was convened to continue discussions regarding the sentence, a sentence and verdict that we are about to hear."

The sentence

Public Prosecutor Pietro Montrone: "Yes, Yes, he accepted the majority of the public prosecutors requests"

Daniele Martinelli: "Please tell us Mr. Public Prosecutor."

Giuliana Rasman: The truth must come out! Ricky never threw any fireworks! The truth must come out! I understand, I understand, it went well so stay calm. WE won, let’s calm down.

Giovanni Di Lullo: "The two unit leaders have been sentenced, police superintendents Mis and Miraz, as has police assistant De Biasi, while police assistant Gatti has been absolved.

Daniele Martinelli: "Sentenced to how long?"

Giovanni Di Lullo, the Rasman family’s defence attorney: "They have each been sentenced to six months in prison, but the sentence was conditionally suspended.

Daniele Martinelli: "What was it that influenced the sentence?"

Giovanni Di Lullo: "The judge’s reasons will be issued within ninety days and we will have to wait to find out. All that was read out today was the provision itself and the guilty finding against the three police officers.

Daniele Martinelli: "So, were the requests accepted after all?"

Giovanni Di Lullo: "The prosecution’s requests were accepted for the most part. One of the four accused was absolved (female police officer Gatti), for reasons that we don’t know as yet. Evidently it emerged that her actions were not decisive in terms of Riccardo’s death in my opinion, however, we will only be able to know for certain once the judges reasons are made known.

Riccardo’s family

Daniele Martinelli: "Mr. Rasman, would you like to comment?"

Duilio Rasman: "Well, I was expecting something more, at least that some sort of justice would be served, because all that I can honestly say is that the blow we have taken is truly too great.
At our age, we had a son that suffered for so many years, to whom I was always very close. I dedicated my life to him in all respects and this blow has been simply too great. I believe that they too have a conscience and will have to admit to themselves that they made a mistake, because the only time I remember ever having come across events such as these was during the war. So all I can say that here in Triest we need some relief such as this, at least some form of justice.

Daniele Martinelli: "Will you be lodging an appeal?"

Duilio Rasman: "I don’t know. We will have to talk to the attorneys."

Daniele Martinelli: "Giuliana, how do you feel about this sentence?"

Giuliana Rasman: "I hope that more information becomes available at some stage in the future and that more light can be shed on everything that wasn’t said in these hearings. A lot has been said about these four police officers, but there are a number of issues that still need to be cleared up regarding the reasons why they acted in this way!
Like why it was necessary to bash down the door and massacre a person in this manner … Riccardo did not die as a result of a physical collapse, Riccardo died as a result of the blows, in a pool of blood, so there must be some other explanation as to why they acted in this manner …"

Daniele Martinelli: "Which you don’t know?"

Giuliana Rasman: "Well, in the police officers’ written statements there are certain specific things that the attorneys are already aware of, so an open hearing should be held so that the many remaining issues can be cleared up. This is because it was not only the four police officers that were guilty of anything and, in our opinion, there were a number of other people involved, including the other people in the building where Riccardo had this studio apartment.

Daniele Martinelli: "Attorney Anselmo, what do you think of this sentence?"

Fabio Anselmo: "Well, I don’t normally consider the weight of the sentences but rather the sentence itself because, in my opinion, in the end it has a proper and huge significance.

Daniele Martinelli: "Six months for a homicide."

Fabio Anselmo: "It was culpable homicide, but what we mustn’t forget is that these are members of the forces of law and order. I don’t wish to say too much as regards the length of the sentence..

Daniele Martinelli: "But are you already thinking of appealing against the sentence, or what?"

Fabio Anselmo: "We will wait and see what the written judgement says. Quite frankly, we were hoping for a guilty verdict and for some suitable legal sanction for the death of Riccardo Rasman and, in my opinion, this is what we worked towards.
Remember that we only became involved once the request for archiving had already been submitted!

Daniele Martinelli: "But why must there be some sort of special treatment in the case of members of the forces of law and order?"

Fabio Anselmo: "That is not for me to say, but let’s just say that it is a political issue about which I would prefer not to comment because I am part of the process. Let’s just say that the matter is certainly extremely complex.

A historic judgement

Daniele Martinelli: In essence , there are two important aspects to this very said matter: the first is the unusual occurrence of the public prosecutor’s withdrawal of his request for archiving at the beginning of the hearing.
The second issue is this sentence for culpable homicide, in other words only six months in return for having taken a human life, which may seem laughable on the one hand, but that on the other hand is breaking new ground in Italy because for the first time ever, a policemen has been handed down a sentence for culpable homicide. It has never happened previously and court records reflect only one previous case of a sentence for manslaughter.
This judgement will be reported in all of the legal magazines and could change the entire framework for assessing any other cases currently pending or any future cases."

Daniele Martinelli: "So, just one year ago public prosecutor Montrone was asking for the case to be archived. What did you, as a regional group of Greens, do about it?"

Alessandro Metz: "We bought an entire page of space in the local newspaper, "Il Piccolo", in order to tell the story about what was happening, because from what we were reading in the articles that were being published at the time, they were being very careful about choosing their words.
For example, the word killed was never used! Riccardo Rasman was in fact killed.

Daniele Martinelli: "Are you saying that Il Piccolo did not report the matter?"

Alessandro Metz: "They did report it, but in a manner that showed the reality in a biased way. It is one thing to report that a person that has been killed, but then it is up to the courts or a judge to decide whether it was wilful murder, culpable homicide or manslaughter, that is not for me to judge the case, but the fact remains that a man was killed.
Prior to publishing the article, the editor of the Il Piccolo daily insisted that we meet with the newspaper’s legal advisor in order to discuss, word for word, what we were allowed to say and what not. Notwithstanding the fact that we had bought a page of newspaper space, there were certain things that they were not prepared to put into print, one of these being that the four police officers had killed Riccardo Rasman.
And so, after exhaustive negotiations, we nevertheless said what we believed was important to say, toning down the language in a few areas, otherwise this news would never have got out in the most opportune manner."

Daniele Martinelli: "The sum paid to this daily newspaper by the Greens of Friuli Venezia Giulia amounted to some 3,500 Euro. Now, after this judgement, we still ask ourselves why this happened and we are left with a bitter taste in our mouths regarding the reasons why so much ferocity and malice was poured out against a young man with no criminal record who, just be the way, was also suffering from an ailment and was well known in the town precisely as a result of the ailment.
In this regard, at this point I don’t know whether or not an appeal will be lodged, as you will have noted from the interviews.

I will leave you with these last few comments made by Riccardo’s mother, Mrs. Maria. That is all from my side."

Maria Rasman: "They were all in it together! What we discovered is that it was not only the police officers, but there were a number of others involved because, for example, Mr. Pollanz was working for the Domio social cooperative, the same group that allocated the flat in which Riccardo was living, via the Basaglia office.
In other words, there are a number of connections. You understand? There are certain things that were concealed. I pray that these connections will come out into the open because our family had already been suffering for fourteen years, ever since Riccardo became ill during his military service and they eventually killed him..
We, instead... after having done so much for our son, those people killed him. We were so happy to be able to look after him and to provide everything that he needed. No one else helped him. We need to find out what really happened, it must not be allowed to remain hidden!
My son was not a criminal, nor was he a member of the Mafia, so obviously someone must have lodged a false complaint.
There is something that I must tell you! They had been badgering him already for a year and a half, ever since they found him alone. He was never alone because he was scared and was always with me or my husband, or with his sister. "Mom, won’t you come up and help me a bit with the cleaning?" Either we, or his sister would go to his apartment, but he was never alone.
On that fateful day, he stayed with my husband and I until half past seven and when we parted company at the crossroads, my son said to me: "mom, we’ll se each other again in a couple of hours..."Did we ever see him again? Taking care of a thirty-four year old son, only to have him disappear suddenly is a shame!
The reason we left our hometown of Portorose in Slovenia to come to Italy was so that we could live in peace, instead, here in Italy they killed our son and we don’t know why! We loved him so much! Our family has been torn apart by this episode! I don’t know what else to say. Our family has been torn apart! After a lifetime of work... "

Previous postings:

On the death of Riccardo Rasman

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 07:31 AM in | Comments (4)
Post a comment | Sign up | Send to a friend | | GrilloNews |
View blog opinions


It would be nice to have a blog in italy where all italians could write or post shots of abuses done by italians in uniform.
Non sarebbe male avere un blog serio in italia dove la gente puo' liberamente allegare e condividere informazioni di abusi da parte delle uniformi. In verita' le barzellette rapresentano l'italiano, quello meno istruito, rendendolo buffo, ma queste non portano alla superficie cose piu' serie...che accadono tutti i giorni. Io purtroppo credo in queste communita' regnano l'ignoranza, il potere, e il culto.

Posted by: Alessandro Rutigliano | February 3, 2009 07:15 AM

This is very sad. But it is not news for me. I was a cop in Italy for 9 years and I have met many sadistic collegues during my short (fortunately) career. To be a cop, especially in black uniforms, you have to be psychologically a right wing. What happened to Riccardo is the exact example of - a fascist - beating to death a person of minority/fragile. Writers or movie directors write on mafia, but never write a line on the behavior of our "heroes".

Posted by: Alessandro Rutigliano | February 3, 2009 07:03 AM

This is very sad. But it is not news for me. I was a cop in Italy for 9 years and I have met many sadistic collegues during my short (fortunately) career. To be a cop, especially in black uniforms, you have to be psychologically a right wing. What happened to Riccardo is the exact example of - a fascist - beating to death a person of minority/fragile. Writers or movie directors write on mafia, but never write a line on the behavior of our "heroes".

Posted by: Alessandro Rutigliano | February 3, 2009 07:03 AM

Wow, that's sad. I keep hearing about police brutality. It just seems to increase, although it's supposed to be the opposite. There was just the shooting of the unarmed teenager at the train station. There's a video for that too. These police officers are given too much power and all they tend to do is abuse it. I've had a few run-ins myself and they instantly start making false accusations. I must admit though, there are a few good guys in blue out there, but not too many.

Posted by: Rajbir D | February 2, 2009 04:13 AM

Post a comment

Beppe Grillo's Blog is an open space for you to use so that we can come face to face directly. As your comment is published immediately, there's no time for filters to check it out. Thus the Blog's usefulness depends on your cooperation and it makes you the only ones responsible for the content and the resulting outcomes.

Information to be read before using Beppe Grillo's Blog

The following are not allowed:
1. messages without the email address of the sender
2. anonymous messages
3. advertising messages
4. messages containing offensive language
5. messages containing obscene language
6. messages with racist or sexist content
7. messages with content that constitutes a violation of Italian Law (incitement to commit a crime, to violence, libel etc.)

However, the owner of the Blog can delete messages at any moment and for any reason.
The owner of the Blog cannot be held responsible for any messages that may damage the rights of third parties Maximum comment length is 2,000 characters.
If you have any doubts read "How to use the blog".

Post a comment (English please!)

First name and Surname*:

Email Address*:
We remind you that anonymous messages (without real first name and surname) will be cancelled.

* Compulsory fields

Send to a friend

Send this message to *

Your Email Address *

Message (optional)

* Compulsory fields