A Guardia Civil officer admits he said: "I jabbed with my baton as if there was no tomorrow"

The head of the police operation on 1-O in the La Fàbrica sports complex in Sant Martí Sesgueioles justifies that it was a "private conversation" in a moment of "tension release"
A Guardia Civil officer admits he said: "I jabbed with my baton as if there was no tomorrow"
Madrid

A Guardia Civil officer admits he said: "I jabbed with my baton as if there was no tomorrow"

The head of the police operation on 1-O in the La Fàbrica sports complex in Sant Martí Sesgueioles justifies that it was a "private conversation" in a moment of "tension release"
Irene VaquéUpdated
TOPIC:
Catalan independence trial
La Guàrdia Civil en l'actuació l'1-O a Sant Martí Sesgueioles

La Guàrdia Civil en l'actuació l'1-O a Sant Martí Sesgueioles

The sentences had appeared in questioning, and they now have an author. "I jabbed with my baton as if there was no tomorrow" and "I might have broken one of his ribs at the very least" are two expressions the head of the police operation on 1-O at the La Fàbrica sports complex in Sant Martí Sesgueioles, in Anoia, has admitted to having said.

The officer, whose Police ID number is W46978K, has explained that he said the first sentence "in a private conversation" about "10 minutes after the operation" and at a time in which he wanted to "release tension". He admitted this when questioned by attorney Andreu Van den Eynde:

"(Andreu Van den Eynde) I understand you were present when an officer was recorded saying "I jabbed with my baton as if there was no tomorrow."

(Guàrdia Civil W46978K) Yes. This has been drawn from a conversation I held 10 minutes after the operation and when we were in a police vehicle leaving the area, and I was talking to people from my team commenting the intervention. I understand that is a private conversation and I am unaware of its signification (...)

(Manuel Marchena) The learned counsel is asking if that is a sentence you said.

(Agent) I cannot deny it, I do not understand what value it has in these proceedings, but well; I would like to put it in context. That was 10 minutes after the intervention had ended. At the time we were releasing tension, stress. This emerged in the conversations much like anything else could have emerged."


The person in charge of the operation also admitted to having said the sentence about ribs, but he defended himself by saying that he was unaware that there were "any people injured" in the operation. In fact, he deemed the operation to be "hard to criticise": 
 

(Van den Eynde) Did you or anyone else say that you 'might have broken one of his ribs at the very least' about a citizen?

(Guàrdia Civil W46978K) Yes, I take responsibility for having said this... As I could have said anything else, but I also say that, 17 months later, I am unaware of any injuries in this operation. No injuries. The operation would be hard to criticise.  

(Van den Eynde) Do you also recall referring to the citizens in question as "sons of bitches"?

(Guàrdia Civil W46978K) That also appears. I cannot deny it. You must understand that, after what we had undergone, the day we had had, with the heat, one releases tension in any way one can.


Here are the images of the police operation in Sant Martí Sesgueioles: 
 

 


Officers who admit to having used their batons:

During the Thursday afternoon sitting in the Supreme Court, the 27th sitting in the trial, some witnesses stated that they did not use their batons. The most common answers were "I did not use them" or "I did not see it" with regard to their colleagues. Some of them, however, have admitted to using them. The first one was the Guardia Civil officer in charge of the operation at the Quercus secondary school in Sant Joan de Vilatorrada, whose TIP number is G61262V:
 

"Yes [we did use batons] to avoid attacks, to separate us from them and to create a security cordon."


A sergeant bearing TIP number U93494I, who intervened at Escola Castell in Dosrius, agreed with him on this point:
 

"Batons were used to contain the crowd and to push it back. (...) None of my subordinates struck at the citizens."

Guardia civil officer I50070J, who intervened in the same polling station in Dosrius, acknowledged that he used his baton "to fend off blows, only for that".

The head of the operation in Sant Martí Sesgueioles explained that, during the intervention, only he used the baton and he specified that he did so "without striking blows":
 

"I used it to push people, in soft tissue areas, to push."

"To stick is not the most appropriate term, it is always the minimum necessary force required to achieve the goal. The baton is positioned and pushed when there is contact. There is no blow. Proof of this is that [citizens] grabbed at it and I had to pull to recover it." 

Yet another witness has discussed it, Guardia Civil officer TIP number R67502P, the head of the 1-O operation at the fair pavilion at Sant Carles de la Ràpita, who argued that, if there were any blows to the head, it was due to how the crowd was arranged:

"The use of batons is legitimate whenever law enforcement forces are under attack. They threw stones and there is legislation that protects the use of force. The least harmful means is the baton. With regard to blows to the head, it is necessary to see how they were arranged. Many of them were not exactly in an upright posture. They were crouching, throwing blows, and if I lower my head at the level of the baton... I am not saying this was intentional."

Here is the story of 1-O at Sant Carles de la Ràpita: 


And here is the video that was distributed by the Ministry of the Interior to argue that police officers used aggression to respond to aggressions:
 

 

Related interactive resource: The keys of the Catalan independence trial

 

The list of polling stations where they had to intervene

The witness from Sant Martí Sesgueioles explained, answering attorney Àlex Solà, that his superiors had given him a series of polling stations in which they could intervene. He is one of the officers who provided the most information on the subject: 
 

"It had been ordered. We had a list of possible centres in which we should intervene and we followed them in order. We had 5 or 6 polling stations."


He added that the list was given to him on the 30th in a meeting at the police headquarters at Sant Andreu de la Barca. The path had been drawn by the Rural Security Group and one officer from that field accompanied them and told them when they were to intervene. With regard to this witness, they ultimately only intervened in Sant Martí Sesgueioles. They were not provided any explanations as to why.

The head of the police operation in the Fair Pavilion at Sant Carles de la Ràpita said that they were informed of the location they were to head to "a few minutes earlier".

 

TOPIC:
Catalan independence trial