How bad is pickpocketing in San Francisco

They wrapped the coffin in a tricolor, as you do with those who have fallen. In Somma Vesuviana, a town on Vesuvius, a carabiniere was buried as if it were a state funeral. The first program of the Italian state television broadcast live. All important government figures were there, including the two deputy prime ministers, Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio. The President of Parliament was also there. Mario Cerciello Rega was 35 years old when he was killed. In Rome where he worked. It is said that he had a big heart and stood up for the homeless. "A good-natured man with big blue eyes" is how the moderators described him over and over again.

In the first row of the mourners sat his wife, Maria Rosaria, with sunglasses. They got married a month ago. The pictures of their wedding, as seen in all the Italian media over the weekend, tore the Italians heart apart. A young happiness, she all in white, he in uniform. On the night of his death, Cerciello was in no uniform, although he was on duty. And that's just one of the many inconsistencies in this mysterious criminal case, which quickly, probably far too quickly, grew into a political affair.

It begins on the night of last Friday in Trastevere, one of the most popular nightlife areas for the Romans. In the summer, when the locals leave town, it almost entirely belongs to the tourists. Two young Americans, 18 and 19 years old, from San Francisco, staying in a four-star hotel with the parents of one of them, are looking for cocaine. An Italian dealer with a bicycle, 47 years old, takes you to a quiet, dark piazza in Trastevere. Surveillance cameras record the scene. Instead of cocaine, he sells them finely grated aspirin.

When the young, drunk men notice the fraud, they steal the pusher's backpack with all the documents in it and pile it up. They ask the man 100 euros if he wants the bag back. The drug dealer agrees. Meet in a side street of the American hotel in Prati, the neighborhood near the Vatican. But then something amazing and apparently absurd happens: the dealer dials 112, the number of the Carabinieri, and reports the theft. Everything is gone, including his card with the tax number. Which dealer is calling the police?

At the agreed meeting point, in the middle of the night, two Carabinieri appear, one of them is Cerciello. Both are civilly dressed. Usually in such cases there are at least four of them, just in case. And in uniform. What exactly happens then is not documented: The security camera fails in just these minutes.

The autopsy reveals that the young, thin American attacked Cerciello from behind and stabbed him eleven times with a knife. None of the officers pulls their pistols. At first it is not even certain that they are armed. The murder weapon is a bayonet that the young man is said to have brought from home in the checked suitcase. The investigators find it a little later in the hotel room, cleaned and hidden. The Americans are arrested, one confesses in the police station. He says he thought the cop was a dealer.

Italy’s rights on the internet are in competition for the toughest statement

The Roman local newspaper Il Messaggero reports quickly - and incorrectly. The offender? Two North Africans, the paper writes, it relies on the information provided by the dealer. And so the competition for the toughest mail takes its course on the Internet. Interior Minister Salvini retweeted the report of the Messaggero and writes that the murderer deserved a life behind bars and in forced labor. Giorgia Meloni, head of the post-fascist party Fratelli d'Italia, which always fears being overtaken by Salvini on the right, now thinks that Italy should no longer be the "basin for these beasts" - probably meaning migrants from Africa. "They are supposed to rot in jail."

When it becomes clear a little later that these are two Americans from well-to-do families, Salvini reminds us that murderers in the USA face the death penalty. It sounds like Italy's Home Secretary envy America a little for it.

On the weekend the newspaper published La Stampa then a compromising photo. It was written on the night of the interrogation, while on duty. You can see the friend of the alleged murderer on it: sitting, bent over slightly, blindfolded, his hands in handcuffs behind his back. It is not clear who recorded it. The photo now causes a lot of excitement. US media accuse the Italians of treating the accused inhumanely, against all rules and against human rights. The Roman public prosecutor's office has opened an investigation. The carabiniere who tied the young man to the chair pretended that he wanted to prevent him from seeing the documents lying around. He was suspended anyway.

But Salvini doesn't understand the excitement: "Anyone who complains now," he tweeted, "I want to remind them that the only sacrifice that deserves our tears is a man, a son, a 35-year-old husband, a carabiniere, a servant of the fatherland. " And so a dim, mingled message from a Roman summer night becomes a political saga.