Six police officers justify entering a flat without judicial authorization on suspicions of gender violence | Spain

Image of the police action in a house on Lagasca street in Madrid for an illegal party that is also being investigated.
Image of the police action in a house on Lagasca street in Madrid for an illegal party that is also being investigated.National Police

Another controversial police action during the state of alarm reaches the courts. Six of the 12 agents of the National Police charged with breaking into a flat in Madrid on December 9 without judicial authorization where a birthday party was supposedly being held despite the restrictions of the state of alarm then in force have declared this Wednesday as accused before the judge of Madrid Marcelino Sexmero. The six have defended that they entered the house on suspicion that a case of gender violence was taking place inside. They also affirmed that they were acting in the face of other flagrant crimes, among them the attack and threats to the agents, according to legal sources present in the interrogation.

The five male occupants of the flat, who were then arrested and already testified in July in the same case accused of resisting authority, denounced that the policemen had tried in their reports to “artificially inflate the allegedly committed offense” to justify their actions. The other six agents who participated in the operation will declare next week as defendants. This Wednesday’s statements come less than a month after six other police officers were questioned as defendants for a second police action in Madrid during the pandemic that included the break-in, also without judicial authorization, in a flat where an illegal party was being held during the state of alarm. In that case, the agents are accused of trespassing, although the Prosecutor’s Office asked last Friday to file the case for five of them.

The event took place at number 14 of Pan y Toros street, in the Madrid district of Villaverde. According to the police report, a patrol car drove to the property after a call from a neighbor who denounced that “a loud brawl” was taking place in a house and there were “loud screams from a woman, as well as a small child crying.” . The agents assure in their report that, while they went up to the floor, they could hear “a loud scandal and blows” that continued despite the fact that they called “insistently at the door.” According to the police report, the occupants of the house refused to open it and, after a struggle with the door ajar in which an officer’s foot was imprisoned, they had to use pepper spray. After forcing the door with a ram, the five men who were inside the apartment were arrested for disobedience, attack and threats.

This Wednesday, the six agents ratified the report and insisted that the objective of entering was “to check the condition of the woman” who was inside and that, once there, they learned that there was also a child. One of the policemen told the judge that, once they managed to enter the house after almost an hour of struggle, “they found the woman and the child crying” in a room away from the entrance and that she told them “that she wanted to open, but that the other occupants [entre ellos su pareja] they did not let her. The agent added that, at no time, the woman told them that she had been attacked and that she does not know if a complaint was filed. “It was all messy and there were bottles of alcohol and everything was thrown on the ground,” he said, before noting that the five arrested “never collaborated” and “resisted arrest.” “The injuries of the detainees may be due to resistance,” he stressed.

Another agent admitted that while they were trying to convince the occupants to let them pass, “they did not hear screams from the woman or the child,” but added that other colleagues had seen a woman go out to one of the houses and “ask for help.” This police officer stressed that the police protocol emphasizes that, when a case of gender violence is suspected, it is necessary “to speak with the possible victim to find out and that was the reason for the intervention.” The police officer also noted that the five detainees “remained aggressive” after the arrest.

A third agent assured the judge that, before entering the house without judicial authorization, they contacted a superior to tell him about the situation. “We told him that we did not know anything about the woman and the child, and he told us that we had to go in anyway,” he said. This agent assures that, when he arrived, they were greeted with the throwing of glass bottles from a window, and that the residents “were violent and excited.” “We limit ourselves to reducing them with the necessary force,” he added.

In this sense, a fourth agent reported that while reading the rights of one of the detainees, he gave him “several punches” and spat at him. This policeman denied that the agents attacked those arrested and justified the possible injuries they presented in their “resistance to arrest.” The last agent to testify insisted, like his companions, that “the detainees did not cooperate, refusing to identify themselves and open the door” and that during their intervention the police tried “not to increase the tension.”

This Wednesday one of the neighbors of the building where the event occurred that alerted the police that morning has also declared. This woman has claimed to have heard “noises and blows, as well as screams and that at five in the morning the blows worsened”, so she called 091. This woman has denied having heard “cries of any child” and that, if well “the voices were very loud”, he could not distinguish if insults were produced. The neighbor has also affirmed that it was the first time that “similar events” had occurred in that house.

Report of mistreatment of detainees

The version given by the arrested is totally different. In the complaint they presented, they affirm that they collaborated at all times and were willing to identify themselves, although they admit that, during the dialogue they had with the agents through the ajar door, they tried to close it to go and collect their identity documents, but that they could not because an agent put a foot and a baton to prevent it. They assure that they reproached the agents for this attitude because “they could not access the interior of the house without a court order.” It is at that moment, always according to the occupants, that the agents sprayed them with pepper spray. They claim that they did so on four occasions despite alerting the police that there was a minor.

When the door was finally knocked down, the occupants reported that they were beaten. “All of them were subjected to beatings, blows, kicks and punches from the moment they left the house and until they reached the police station,” included the complaint they presented and which led to the indictment of the 12 officers. The complaint is accompanied by photographs of the alleged injuries suffered, as well as the damage to the door of the apartment. The agents have assured the judge that minor injuries could have occurred to the detainees during the arrest, but they deny that they were of the seriousness that the images collected.