Prosecutors in Genoa have opened two investigations after a television program in Italy broadcast a video showing a group of police officers hitting two migrants on a train between Genoa and Ventimiglia. The migrants had holed up in a bathroom of the train.
Genoa prosecutors have opened an investigation into alleged police brutality against two migrants after on March 29 the Italian television program 'Striscia la notizia' broadcast footage showing officers pushing, kicking and hitting with a crowbar two migrants on a train travelling from Genoa to Ventimiglia in the northwestern region of Liguria.
The scene was filmed with a cell phone on March 24 by a witness.
The migrants had reportedly hidden in a bathroom so their documents wouldn't be checked by the officers.
One of the investigations will focus on charges pressed by the officers who accused the migrants of resisting arrest while the other will look into the behavior of the railway police officers.
The witness who filmed the scene handed over the images to Savona prosecutors after getting off the train.
However, since the incident occurred at Genoa's Brignole station, the file was handed over to Genoa magistrates who have jurisdiction on the case.
Chief prosecutor Francesco Cozzi said on March 30 that the video will be examined "to see if there are grounds for prosecution." Cozzi said witnesses will also be questioned.
The video was broadcast on television
The video shows police officers kicking the two migrants and hitting them with batons and a crowbar they used to open the door of the bathroom where they were hiding.
"Striscia la notizia" requested an explanation from the director of railway police Olimpia Del Maffeo during the program.
Del Maffeo said "the patrol intervened at the request of the conductor because there were people hiding in the bathroom for an hour to evade controls. Once the bathroom was opened, these people reacted in a violent way."
The railway police chief said the video showed "small frames of a more articulated and complex operation."
"Judicial authorities will make a complete reconstruction" of the incident, she concluded. The footage shows two migrants getting out of the bathroom with their hands over their heads and then being hit by officers.
Del Maffeo added that "measures will be taken" if the officers are found responsible of violence "against helpless citizens".
"The video broadcast by Striscia is not pleasant but it is necessary to analyze the case from all angles", Genoa's police commissioner Vincenzo Ciarambino said on March 30. He added that the police personnel are not formally under his command "and therefore I share what has been said" by Del Maffeo.
"It is necessary to have a 360-degree perspective on the whole issue -- judicial authorities will make their evaluations," he concluded.
Investigators over the coming days will question the conductor who asked for the intervention of railway police and the witness who filmed the video in order to piece together the incident.