Trapero's statement in the Supreme Court in 10 sentencesThe chief of the Catalan police argued before the Supreme Court that his force fulfilled court orders on 1-O, stating as well that they were ready to arrest Puigdemont and the government if necessary
Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero took the witness stand with his defence counsel, Olga Tubau
Josep Lluís Trapero, the chief of the Catalan police, set himself apart from the decisions of the Puigdemont government and explained in the Supreme Court that his corps was ready to arrest the president and ministers after the declaration of independence on 27-O.
Trapero, who is still to be judged on charges of rebellion in the National Court, broke his silence in a long statement as a witness in which he described statements by the government according to which the Catalan police would guarantee the vote as "irresponsible".
For the first time in this trial, Justice Manuel Marchena questioned the witness. The president of the court asked him the question the State Attorney General's Office could not ask because it did not regard the subjects for which far-right party Vox had summoned Trapero as a witness.
Justice Marchena questioned Major Trapero
The Major argued that, when faced with the "illegal referendum" of 1-O, they acted in accordance with orders from the magistrate of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia and carried out the order "as far as possible". He also admitted that he did not take kindly to the figure of Pérez de los Cobos as coordinator because he perceived him as a "political" figure.
He also stated that, on 20 S, they decided to have the court secretary leave through the roof in order to save the time it would take to organise a security cordon in front of the Ministry of the Economy.
Here are the key moments in his statement:
Ready to arrest the government if necessary
Trapero took the stand for about 6 hours and answered all questions
"(Trapero) We were unaware of its legal significance and which criminal offences could be incurred, but we saw that it was a matter that looked somewhat severe and we put ourselves at the disposal of the judicial authority, especially in case there was some kind of... if some kind of action to this end was ordered. And, on a side note, we had been ready for such actions two days in advance...
(Melero) What kind of actions?
Trapero) Arresting the president and ministers, if we were ordered to do so, obviously, in an operation we had prepared."
The top brass of the Catalan police had warned the government
"We said we were going there as the top brass of the corps. We conveyed our concerns about public order and citizen safety insofar as there would most likely be 2 million people on the streets and 15,000 police officers acting, and this would necessary give rise to severe problems of public order. We urged them to obey the law and court orders. We told them that we would obviously comply with them, that they should not make any false assumptions with regard to us.
The speaker of the Parliament was important for us, because complying with the law went beyond the referendum. We told them that the Catalan police corps would not break the law or the Constitution. That we were not on board with the pro-independence project. That we were uneasy about certain statements that had been made, especially those of Minister Forn or, on that same morning, Minister Turull. That we had had received injunctions from the Constitutional Court and that we were personally at risk."
"Do what you must'. That was the answer from president Puigdemont."
Reproaching Minister Forn
"It caused unease; it confused citizens on the role of the Catalan police. It gave an image that fed into something I believe we are being punished for and which is untrue. We reproached him for that and I believe it was irresponsible."
The instructions of the magistrate and actions on October 1
"The subject of social order arose from the meeting with the magistrate. When we finished and got up, and I have stated this before the National Court, the magistrate said: 'Act patiently, with restraint, and ensure social order at all times'.
"The interlocutory order stated what it stated, your honour. Did we interpret them as acts of preparation in hindsight? It is not that we did not want to interpret them as such, we did not understand them as such."
"The operation formulated by the Catalan police corps, not by myself, by the corps itself, which was designed by its commanders in the framework of a joint operation with the other corps, was purely intended to comply with the orders of the courts and of the State Attorney General. Nothing else. Would we have liked to achieve better results? Yes. But we did what we could as a joint effort."
A disagreement with Pérez de los Cobos
"What I did ask the State Attorney General, when this figure emerged as coordinator and I, mistakenly or not, perceived it as more of a political organism."
"From the get-go Pérez de los Cobos said that this could not be an excuse to allow the vote, which I personally found offensive. Compliance with court orders, not casting doubt on them and the police being bound to carry them out is one thing, but we were also being compelled to act in a certain way according to certain principles that are as legitimate as any others."
The exit of the court secretary on 20 S
"The reason why we had the court secretary leave through the rooftop was not due to the fact that we felt that the cordon was not safe, the reason is that when I was called by the magistrate towards 11 PM, the cordon had been disassembled. (...) Due to the call from the magistrate, I asked them to get in touch with the court secretary and to offer her that exit (through the roof), to see if she could accept it. The reason why we offered it was not to have to wait to establish the cordon on the street once again."
- Catalan independence trial