Catalan police leadership under investigation
The case against the Mossos d'Esquadra police chief Ferran López and six top officials transferred to Spain's national court
The top leadership of the Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, is under investigation for failing to stop last October's independence referendum. A local court in Catalonia has referred the case involving seven top officials to Spain's National Court, which is already investigating the former police chief Josep Lluís Trapero and the officer Teresa Laplana for sedition.
The case now includes Ferran López, the current head of the Mossos, appointed by the Spanish government after dismissing Trapero. Catalonia's own police body has been under fire for allegedly not doing enough to halt the vote, which was deemed illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
“The design [of the guidelines] by the Mossos leaders was directly and immediately meant to prevent orders by the Constitutional Court and Spain’s High Court in Catalonia being followed”
Judge at a local court in Catalonia
The local judge believes that it was the Mossos’ leaders who was responsible for the document setting the guidelines for the police operation on October 1. Citing the Spanish Guardia Civil police, the judge is accusing the Mossos of playing a part in the vote being held successfully, and of having prior knowledge that the operation to stop the referendum was going to fail.
The judge criticizes the leaders of the Mossos for not using riot police and allowing polling stations to be occupied before the voting day. Moreover, the Catalan police deployed 7,000 officers out of the 17,000 who work in the force. In a normal election, some 12,000 police officers would have been expected to be active.
The judge says that it took a long time for the officers on the ground to communicate with their superiors. Indeed, the judge states that the guidelines delayed the operation and were “tolerant” with the votes. “The design [of the guidelines] by the Mossos leaders was directly and immediately meant to prevent orders by the Constitutional Court and Spain’s High Court in Catalonia being followed.”