There are several good reasons why we should not forget what happened to Covell, then aged 33, that night in Genoa. The first is that he was only the beginning. By midnight on July 21 2001, those police officers were swarming through all four floors of the Diaz Pertini building, dispensing their special kind of discipline to its occupants, reducing the makeshift dormitories to what one officer later described as “a Mexican butcher’s shop”. They and their colleagues then illegally incarcerated their victims in a detention centre, which became a place of dark terror.
The second is that, seven years later, Covell and his fellow victims are still waiting for justice. On Monday, 15 police, prison guards and prison medics finally were convicted for their part in the violence – although it emerged yesterday that none of them would actually serve prison terms. In Italy, defendants don’t go to jail until they have exhausted the appeals process; and in this case, the convictions and sentences will be wiped out by a statute of limitations next year. Meanwhile, the politicians who were responsible for the police, prison guards and prison medics have never had to explain themselves. Fundamental questions about why this happened remain unanswered – and they hint at the third and most important reason for remembering Genoa. This is not simply the story of law officers running riot, but of something uglier and more worrying beneath the surface.
update: Jimmi ha tradotto l’articolo del Guardian qui.