The Barcelona Audience court has admitted that "police excesses" took place on the 1st October 2017, the day of the Catalan referendum. In a decree referring to the actions of the security forces at a school in Sant Joan de Vilatorrada, the court denounces "the use of batons and defences hitting members of the public without prior physical aggression and with no apparent purpose". "Proportionality didn't exist," it wrote. The decree considers proceeding with carry out the necessary investigation to identify the agents involved and that, if those attacked cannot identify them, their superiors or colleagues should do so".
With this order, the court of investigation of the provincial audience of Barcelona has accepted an appeal against the decision by Manresa's court number 2 to not start proceedings over the complaints filed. "An excess in the police's action occurred causing injuries which probably wouldn't have happened if they'd acted in another manner," the judges write.
The decision includes a dissenting vote from one judge against the decision.
The order doesn't accept "that it was necessary to unexpectedly and surprisingly hit with batons and defences those who were outside next to the entrance to prevent the agents from entering the building". "The same result could have been achieved, although it would have required more time, by removing those congregated by force: taking hold of them and dragging them".
The text also explains that police headed to the polling station without making "the required notification, warning and request to those gathered there" although the reason for their presence would seem clear.
"Without warning or request, and without trying to move them aside from in front of the entrance, whether taking them and/or dragging them, by surprise they hit them with batons and defences with which they managed to get them to leave that place to not continue being hit and injured," they write.
The ruling says that, given the presence of members of the public who wanted to vote, "the police commanders should have evaluated that, to achieve their objective, it was highly probable they would hurt some of them, as it was with a total of 14 injured, and moreover with a possible deterioration of the image of the institutions".
They note that, although the vote would have continued, the result of their actions wouldn't have been the same and the agents knew this.
As such, the Audience decides to move ahead with the investigation the parties and prosecutors ask for, aimed at identifying the perpetrators of and participants in the events. Also that, in case those attacked cannot identify the agents, their superiors or colleagues should be asked to, using images recorded on the day to help.