Court rules “Jo Ferrari” suspect died of deliberate suffocation

PHOTO: A court ruled Jo Ferrari's victim died by deliberate suffocation. (via Wikibio/CNN)

In the wake of the Jo Ferrari scandal that uncovered police brutality and opulence in a painfully public way, a court just ruled that the suspect – who died after having his hands tied and plastic bags placed over his head – was the victim of deliberate suffocation.

Pol Col Thitisan “Jo Ferrari” Utthanaphon was captured on video in a violent interrogation of a suspect in a drug case, during which the superintendent with his subordinates placed 6 plastic bags over the man’s head and tied his hands behind his back which led to his suffocation until he died.

The video went viral and after a brief stint as a fugitive, 7 officers including Jo Ferrari were taken into custody. During the manhunt, the unbelievable wealth that police working for a 40,000 baht a month salary are able to amass with rewards and side hustles, causing public outrage. Thitisan is under investigation as well for the hundreds of millions of baht and stable of luxury cars he earned by confiscating illegally imported cars.

Thitisan has argued that the man’s death was an accident and he should only face assault charges, not murder charges. But the Nakhon Sawan Provincial Court ruled officially yesterday that Jo Ferrari’s suspect died of suffocation in police custody. The original autopsy report listed a drug overdose as the cause of death, allegedly at the instruction of Thitisan.

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A full autopsy was conducted on the victim by forensic experts who testified in court, along with police investigating the case, the lawyer who released the video, and the victim’s mother.

The 7 officers including Thitisan involved in the incident were fired from the police force and held in jail as a special police panel investigated the case. They are being charged with abuse of power, assault and coercion, as well as murder through torture.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.