Spanish officer who caused activist to lose an eye in referendum identified

Report from human rights group finds name and number of riot officer who shot rubber bullet during October 1 vote, seriously injuring Roger Español

The man who lost an eye on 2017 referendum day, Roger Español, in September 2018 (by Miquel Codolar)
The man who lost an eye on 2017 referendum day, Roger Español, in September 2018 (by Miquel Codolar) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 19, 2019 11:07 AM

Over a year and a half since Roger Español was hit by a rubber bullet during the 2017 independence referendum, later losing an eye as a consequence, the police officer who fired the shot has been identified by a human rights group.

In an independent study commissioned by the Irídia association, an expert criminologist looked into the images of the events during the October 1 vote in the Ramon Llull school, which was being used as a polling place, and managed to discover the officer's identity.

This comes after the judge investigating the actions of Spanish riot police in Barcelona on the day of the vote summoned 11 potential police shooters who were in the area at the time, but who all denied being the officer that fired the bullet that would take Español's sight.

Process of elimination

Beginning with an image of the moment the officer shot the bullet, in which his identity number cannot be seen, the criminologist used other images from the day and a computer measuring system in a process of elimination that led to officer number UC563.

Español's defense lawyer has now called on the investigating judge in Barcelona to summon to court the police shooter that the report identifies, as well as the superior officer who was in charge of the operation.

Meanwhile, Español explained the obstacles that the police had put in the way of the efforts to discover the officer's identity, and he sent a message of support to other victims of police rubber bullets, which are banned in Catalonia but still used by state police forces.