mossos d'esquadra

Catalan Police to be directed by a person associated with the opposition Socialist Party (PSC)

June 10, 2014 08:59 PM | ACN

Albert Batlle, in charge of Catalonia's prison network during the former left-wing Cabinet (2003-2010), has been appointed the new Director General of the Catalan Police Force, called Mossos d'Esquadra. The Catalan Government, run by the Centre-Right pro-Catalan State Coalition (CiU), appointed Batlle on Tuesday, emphasising he is "an independent person", "with experience". Batlle is a former member of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is part of opposition in the Catalan Parliament. He will have the challenge to direct the Mossos d'Esquadra after years of controversy linked to the police's use of force. The Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Ramon Espadaler, asked him "to guide police action" and "to introduce a degree of common sense and calm". Batlle earned prestige as a manager of complex issues and he was one of the key people in the organisation of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Violent protests in Barcelona over eviction of a squat in Sants neighbourhood

May 28, 2014 11:47 PM | ACN

From Monday to Wednesday, there have been many demonstrations and small riots in Barcelona and other cities throughout Catalonia to protest against the eviction of the Can Vies squat, a social centre managed by associations and anarchist trade unions. The Can Vies squat was running since 1997 and it was a symbol among the alternative left and anti-system movements. It was occupying a small building owned by Barcelona’s Metropolitan Transport Authority (TMB), which had somehow tolerated the occupation of its facilities. However, since a few years ago the building has been affected by a town planning project. On Monday the Catalan Police started to empty Can Vies, after it had been paralysed for a long time by civil mobilisations. However, on Monday evening the building was finally emptied, bricked up and a bulldozer started to demolish it. This sparked the conflict. The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, insisted he will not negotiate until the violence ends.

Director of Catalan Police resigns after series of controversial episodes

May 27, 2014 11:11 PM | ACN

Manel Prat, General Director of the Mossos d’Esquadra – the Catalan police force – resigned on Tuesday evening “for personal reasons”. He took this step the day before the Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) were due to file a request to the Catalan Parliament to hold a debate on his resignation. Prat took office in January 2011 and the Catalan Police has since been involved in a series of controversies related to the excessive use of force, which in some cases may have had grievous consequences, including demonstrators losing eyes from a rubber bullet and the death of individuals in police custody. Legal investigations are still ongoing and therefore formal sentences have not been issued in these cases, but there is much evidence to indicate that the Catalan Police’s actions are likely to have been out of order. On top of this, there have been many shadows cast on the Mossos’ internal investigations and disciplinary processes. However, Prat denied he was resigning because of these episodes.

Almost 2,000 police officers will ensure safety during Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress

February 21, 2014 09:17 PM | ACN

Some 1,900 police officers, both from the Catalan Police Force (called Mossos d’Esquadra), and from the local polices of Barcelona and L'Hospitalet de Llobregat (Greater Barcelona), will ensure the safety of the 75,000 visitors expected to attend the Mobile World Congress, the main international event of the mobile-phone-related industry. This trade fair and conference takes place each year in Barcelona and the upcoming edition will run from the 24th to the 27th of February. With this safety reinforcement plan, plain-clothed police officers will be deployed in the pavilions of the Mobile World Congress, while the number of uniformed-police patrols will be increased to dissuade pickpockets. Furthermore, there will be more private security guards controlling the premises this year and a dedicated police station where attendees can report any loss or theft will be open all day long.

Catalan Police Mossos d’Esquadra to have an Ethic Committee

February 13, 2014 07:25 PM | ACN

The Catalan Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted an Ethics Committee for the Catalan Police Force, called Mossos d’Esquadra. It will be chaired by Francesc Torralba, Director of Applied Ethics at Barcelona’s Ramon Llull University. The Ethics Committee was firstly created by the former Left-Wing Cabinet, when the Home Affairs Ministry was run by a Green Socialist (ICV-EUiA). However, it was suppressed in 2011 by his successor from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU). Now, following recent scandals, such as the death of an arrestee, it has been restored. The Ethics Committee is made of ten members who have a non-renewable term of four years: five representatives of the police and home security are joined by five independent university professors in the field of law, ethics and sociology. Their first assignment will be drafting the Catalan Police’s new Code of Ethics.

Further Catalan Police officers are indicted for arrestee's death

December 4, 2013 07:37 PM | ACN

Eight officers of the Catalan Police Force – called Mossos d’Esquadra – and two paramedics of the Catalan Emergency Services (SEM) have been indicted on Wednesday, following the death of a man while he was in custody. Last July, Yassir El Younoussi was arrested in El Vendrell for a threatening-authority felony. After a medical exam, El Younoussi was put into custody at the police station. According to the Catalan Police, due to his violent and agitated behaviour he was tied up with strips and forced to wear a helmet in order not to injure himself. He died a few hours later while still in custody at the police station. This case occurs a few weeks after another person died a few hours after the intervention of the Catalan Police in Barcelona’s Raval neighbourhood. In fact, this Wednesday, a tenth police officer has been indicted for the Raval case.

A 9th police officer is indicted related to a man’s death

November 21, 2013 01:39 PM | ACN

The judge investigating the death of a man a few hours after his arrest in Barcelona by the Catalan Police has decided to indict a 9th officer related to this case. On the 4th November, 8 Catalan Police officers were indicted and suspended from active service for physical aggression - which might have caused the arrestee’s death, trying to destroy evidence and consequently obstructing justice. The 9th officer is indicted for having allegedly cleaned up remains of blood on the street after the victim’s arrest, obstructing the judicial investigation. However, the Catalan Home Affairs Ministry has not suspended this 9th policeman, as the charges “are not so severe” as for the other 8 officers who actively participated in the arrest, but has decided to transfer him to another police station.

8 police officers are indicted and suspended for a man’s death just after his arrest in Barcelona

November 4, 2013 09:38 PM | ACN

Eight officers of the Catalan Police have been indicted by the judge and consequently temporarily suspended from active service by the Catalan Government, it was announced on Monday. The 8 policemen are suspected of beating up a middle-aged man while they were arresting him, causing his death, trying to destroy evidence and obstructing justice, according to the judicial report. The victim – gay businessman Juan Andrés Benítez – died a few hours after his arrest from a heart attack, allegedly provoked by 5 punches received on his head during his arrest. The case has generated significant controversy, since it is not the first time that Catalan Police have been involved in a violent abuse scandal. At the same time, the Spanish Police were requested to act as judiciary police and issue an investigation report on the facts.