Rome Officer Killing: Leaked video shows defendant Gabe Natale blindfolded during questioning

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Explosive video has surfaced in the case of two young men from the Bay Area, held in an Italian prison for the stabbing death of 35-year-old Carabinieri Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello-Rega on July 26, 2019.

EXCLUSIVE: Bay Area man says son suspected in Rome officer killing roughed up during questioning

In the video just leaked to Italian media and the I-Team's Dan Noyes, Gabriel Natale of Mill Valley is seen handcuffed and blindfolded in a police station just hours after the officer died.

The conversation is in Italian; Natale spent several weeks a summer at his grandfather's seaside villa in Fregene, and speaks Italian well.

Someone off camera asks in Italian, "Hey boy, what's your name? Hey, what's your name? What's your name?"

Natale: "What changed?"
Officer: "What do you mean what changed? Tell me what your name is. Tell me your name. How long have you been in Italy?"
Natale: "For a week"
Officer: "How long? What are you doing in Italy?"
Natale: "I'm here visiting family."

Officer: "Where do they live?"
Natale: "They live in Rome" Officer: "Where?"
Natale: "I don't know exactly where."
Officer: "The pink, red sweatshirt, where is it?"
Natale: "The pink pink sweatshirt...what pink pink?"

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The video raises new questions about the police handling of the case. When a photo showing Natale handcuffed and blindfolded surfaced just days after his arrest, the Carabinieri explained that the blindfold was used for only four minutes and that it was used to prevent Natale from seeing papers on a desk and a computer screen. But, in the video, it's clear he is being questioned while blindfolded.

The I-Team has confirmed that Cerciello-Rega's partner, Carabinieri Andrea Varriale, was the one who shot the video.

Prosecutors say Natale was fighting with Varriale during the confrontation that ended in the death of Cerciello-Rega, which prevented Varriale from helping Cerciello-Rega.

Then, Varriale was there for at least a portion of the interrogation.

In the Untied States, any officer involved in a deadly confrontation would not have access to the suspect.

The trial for Gabriel Natale and Finnegan Elder is scheduled to start February 26. Elder admitted stabbing Cerciello-Rega to death, but claims it was self-defense.

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Natale and Elder told police they thought Cerciello-Rega and his partner, Andrea Varriale, were thugs working with a drug dealer. The officers were in plainclothes and did not have their service weapons at the time of the incident.

The officer who placed the blindfold on Natale and the one who took the photo now face charges for abuse of authority. In July, the photograph was passed between officers on WhatsApp and eventually made its way to reporters.

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Get the latest updates on the killing of Mario Cerciello Rega here.
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