A Barcelona judge has dismissed the cases of 43 people who reported being injured by Spanish police in six polling stations in the city during the independence referendum held on 1 October.
In most cases the police response was seen as proportionate, while in others there were no images of the allegations, or it proved impossible to fully identify the police officers concerned. Also closed were the cases of two heads who reported material damage caused by police to their schools, which were used as polling stations.
According to court sources, the judge ruled that on 1 October ‘the police officers received orders from the High Court of Justice of Catalonia to prevent the use of public facilities for holding the referendum.’
The judge went on to acknowledge the ‘monopoly on the use of force’ reserved for the security forces. ‘The use of force is legitimate whenever there is a justification for it and when it is carried out proportionally,’ concluded the judge.
Following the events of 1 October, the Catalan authorities reported that over a thousand people received some type of medical attention. Many of these people went on to file lawsuits against Spanish police officers.
At the same time, the strategies seen to be used by the police were widely condemned, including internationally, by the likes of Amnesty International or the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.
Among the incidents reported in the 43 cases dismissed by the judge are allegations by people claiming to have been punched by officers or hit with batons, while others say they were roughly dragged and pushed out of the way.
Other allegations accuse police officers of knocking people to the ground and then kicking them. Police officers were also accused of causing damage to doors and windows while forcing their way into the polling stations.