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Italian Police Chief Arrested

November 24, 1998

ROME (AP) _ Milan’s police chief has been arrested on murder charges in Rome, accused of deliberately shooting a smuggler during a 1995 police chase to cover up police wrongdoing.

Francesco Forleo was police chief of Brindisi, a southern port city, at the time. The shooting took place during a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Forleo was in a police helicopter chasing the boat of smuggler Vito Ferrarese. Forleo shot Ferrarese during the chase; a rifle was later found in Ferrarese’s boat.

Forleo, who was once a top police union official and later served two terms in parliament, was cleared in a subsequent investigation.

But in Brindisi, the investigation continued and prosecutors now allege that Forleo deliberately killed Ferrarese to cover up police complicity with the smugglers. They say Ferrarese was unarmed and the rifle was planted in the boat.

Forleo was summoned to the Interior Ministry in Rome, where he submitted his resignation Monday morning. He was arrested later in the day.

Last month, five police officers who served in Brindisi under Forleo were arrested in connection with the slaying.

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