'You are a monkey': young black man reports alleged racist Catalan police attack

Recording suggests 20-year-old was beaten and called racial slurs in case under investigation

Some signs of the Black Lives Matter protest held in Barcelona on June 7, 2020 (by Mar Rovira)
Some signs of the Black Lives Matter protest held in Barcelona on June 7, 2020 (by Mar Rovira) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 15, 2020 12:40 PM

A black young man, Wubi, and the association SOS Racism, have denounced an alleged racist attack by some Catalan police officers that happened on January 10, 2019.

The supposed events, revealed by La Directa digital newspaper and Catalunya Ràdio public broadcaster, took place in Sant Feliu Sasserra, central Catalonia, as Wubi was leaving his home to walk his dog while some officers were executing an eviction in the building.

According to the 20-year-old man, he was required to show his ID, and then began to be humiliated, insulted and beaten, to the extent of being called "monkey" and "fucking nigger."

Wubi explained that he was able to record the alleged attack with an audio recorder, and that a local court in Manresa is investigating the events after a criminal lawsuit by the man.

'Police corporatism'

SOS Racisme claims that the officers involved in the event are still working in the Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra police.

A lawyer for the NGO, Marilda Sueiras, explains that Mossos agreed to meet her and Wubi, but a superintendent said they could not take any action against his colleagues "while the criminal case is open."

SOS Racisme believes this case is not only "a result of the racist ideology of a group of officers," but the outcome of the "impunity, racism, and police corporatism with which the officers work."

The events were revealed on Monday, coinciding with the global campaign 'Black Lives Matter'. Last week, Mossos d'Esquadra head Eduard Sallent condemned detentions and identifications of people of color, but said this happens in the police "across" the world.

Sallent suggested that the current Spanish immigration law, and latest immigration waves and some situations of social exclusion lead to "bias" when officers ask people for their ID, which should be corrected with training and awareness.

Wubi's account

The recording reveals that the first thing the officers asked him was whether he was the "gardener" of the building, while asking for his ID.

SOS Racisme explains that then, the officers pushed him, threw bags full of rubbish to him, spat on him, and kicked him on his head.

Wubi accounts that afterwards he fled, a police officer tried to shoot at him but missed, and he returned after being threatened that an arrest warrant would be issued against him.

Then allegedly the officers continued humiliating him, and several comments can be heard in the recording, such as 'you are a monkey', 'this is the closest you will see the devil', 'fucking nigger, son of a bitch', 'yes, I am racist, very racist, but if you were white, I would have beaten you with the same or more energy'.

As the boy was asking officers to stop and moaning, the officers supposedly said 'the next time you see the police, run, but try to run away very far, go further than Africa'.

Wubi was arrested and taken to Sant Joan de Déu hospital, and was reported by the officers, but a court in Manresa filed the officers' accusations.    

Police response

While the NGO denounces that the police officers involved in the Sant Feliu Sasserra are still working, the Catalan home affairs ministry announced on Monday that they have moved the six officers investigated to other towns while the legal case is resolved.