ERC MPs Josep Maria Jové and Jenn Díaz have filed a complaint with the Catalan police against a Spanish police officer who spat and insulted them on July 23 as they were walking to Barcelona’s Palau de la Música, the venue where an awards ceremony was about to be held, TV3 reports. The two Catalan representatives stated that, as they were walking past the Spanish Police station on Via Laietana, an armed officer in uniform who was standing guard outside spat on the ground. When the MPs turned around, he called them “c****s”.
“There are security cameras outside the police station, so —assuming they are keen to find out— they should be able to identify the officer in question”, Díaz said to TV3 as she explained the reasons why they have reported the incident. A Spanish police source has told this newspaper that they “will release the footage to the judge once a judicial request has been made”. Díaz noted that the officer might have recognised her colleague because he is a former government deputy (in the ministry of Economy and the Vice Presidency) and was arrested on September 20 last year for his leading role in the preparation of the independence vote, after Catalan president Carles Puigdemont tasked VP Junqueras with the job of organising the referendum. Jové was released three days later because no rebellion charge was pressed against him, but he has been indicted for disobedience, neglect of duty and misuse of public funds. The latter crime carries a prison sentence.
The two Catalan MPs hope that their case will help to put an end to what they described as “police impunity”. In fact, the complaint lodged by the representatives emphasises that the episode has caused them to experience “distress and fear because this is not a one-off incident”. “For months we have been getting threats, slurs and damage to our property because of our political views by individuals who presumably do not sympathise with them”, they explained. In early May a number of unknown individuals destroyed Díaz’s car while it was parked in Sant Andreu de la Barca, her hometown. The culprits have not been found yet. In a Twitter post, the ERC MP has complained about the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for the attacks and insults against independence supporters.
This incident comes after Catalan photojournalist Jordi Borràs was physically assaulted on July16 by a Spanish policeman working in Barcelona’s intelligence division. The officer has not been suspended. Even though the police force initially stated that he had been assigned a desk job, it turns out that he is actually a police inspector and not a mere constable. Officers with that rank belong to the force’s executive scale and they tend to be specialists in a particular area. The officer in question is doing anti-terrorist work and monitoring extremist groups, the two main focus areas of the intelligence division in any police force. The Spanish police have argued that no formal probe will be launched against the officer until a court has agreed to see the case because the police officer also lodged a complaint against Borràs for having allegedly assaulted him first. However, the Catalan photographer has always maintained that the police officer jumped him and attacked him viciously.