Spanish officer in Born bar brawl is riot police chief inspector

The officer, who was part of the police deployment to block October 1st referendum, has 250 riot police under his command

One of the policemen involved in a brawl in Barcelona’s trendy Born neighborhood on the night of October 24th, where a group of off-duty Spanish Police officers were involved, is a chief inspector for the riot police for one of the units deployed to Catalonia in the days before and after October 1st. According to Barcelona daily El Periodico, the chief inspector, whose initials are J.A.F., was in charge of the fifth police intervention unit (UIP), and had a total of 250 riot officers under his command. In addition, the 39 year-old inspector, who was in Catalonia from September through the end of November, attended one of the police coordination meetings at the HQ of Spanish Government’s Delegation called by Diego Pérez de los Cobos, Director of the Office of Coordination and Studies in Spain’s Secretary of State for Security and a colonel in the Guardia Civil, according to the same newspaper. Josep Lluís Trapero, then Major of Catalonia’s Mossos, did not attend the meeting.

J.A.F. was one of the 6,000 Spanish Police and Guardia Civil officers sent to Catalonia with the aim of impeding the October 1st referendum, and who were housed in one of the vessels rented by Madrid’s Interior Ministry and docked at the Port of Barcelona-- specifically, the one popularly known as "Tweety Bird".

Conflicting accusations

On the night of October 24th, a group of off-duty Spanish police were involved in a brawl at a bar in the Born district with a waiter and the bar owner. They thought that the owner and employee were speaking Catalan, although they were speaking to each other in Italian. "Speak Spanish here or don't speak at all", they told them, according to the owner's version as reported by ARA. After many rounds of beer, the policemen, increasingly under the influence, reacted badly to being told the bar was closing, especially the chief inspector, who had a prominent role in the incident.

According to the owner's story, the inspector came around to the other side of the bar counter to grab the waiter by the neck. The owner jumped in to separate them and they all fell to the ground, after which the other policemen joined the brawl armed with barstools. The Catalan police arrived on the premises to take a report and one of the Spanish police, who were all in plainclothes, accused the waiters of having stolen his mobile phone, though it was found behind the counter of the bar soon thereafter.

At the moment there are two reports filed: one by the police against the waiters for trying to steal the same inspector's mobile phone, and another by the waiters against the police. According to El Periodico, the internal investigation of the incident is pending a resolution of the conflicting accusations, and no action will be taken against those involved until then.

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