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Man who was blinded in one eye on 1-O files criminal charges against three Spanish Police officers

The charges have been brought against the policeman who fired the shot and two of his superior officers

The man who lost his sight to a rubber bullet fired by Spanish Police has filed a criminal complaint against three officers. The incident in question took place outside the Ramon Llull School, in Barcelona city, leading to charges being filed against the police officer from the Spanish Police —yet to be identified— who fired the rubber bullet that blinded the man in one eye, together with his two superior officers. The three police officers are to be charged with major bodily harm and for having caused the loss of an eye. Charges may well be brought against other individuals in the future.

The charges are being pressed by Roger Español, the man who was blinded in his right eye during the 1 October independence referendum. He has obtained access to video footage of the events recorded by several individuals. The images show the Spanish Police charging the public outside the Ramon Llull School and the moment when the police officer fired the rubber bullet that hit Español in the eye. The Irídia centre is bringing charges on behalf of Roger Español as a civil plaintiff, in which he will be represented by lawyer Anaïs Franquesa. Meanwhile a private prosecution will be brought by lawyer Laia Serra (who was legal counsel to Ester Quintana, the woman who lost the sight in one eye to a rubber bullet in the protests during the November 2012 general strike).

According to Franquesa, "The police officer fired the rubber bullet at point blank range, at less than 15 meters from the members of the public. He was fully aware that he was exposing them to danger", adding that the two commanding officers have also been charged since "they ordered the use of rubber bullets or at the very least did nothing to prevent them from being used". Serra added that "Roger was surrounded by reporters wearing press bracelets and holding cameras. Anyone could’ve been hit". The events took place at 10:30 a.m. on 1 October in carrer Sardenya in Barcelona, between Diputació and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes when Spanish Police charged members of the public outside Ramon Llull School.

The criminal charges were filed with Criminal Court No. 7 in Barcelona, which has opened an investigation to decide whether the actions of the Spanish National Police in 26 polling stations around Barcelona on 1 October was "reasonable". Last week, the Irídia centre filed five more criminal complaints with the same court on behalf of seven individuals who also reported incidents of police violence during the 1-O vote.

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