The two senior Spanish National Police Corps officers who testified today in Barcelona accused over the charges during last year's Catalan referendum, an inspector and deputy inspector who supervised part of the operation at Mediterrànea school, Sant Antoni's escoles pies schools and Pau Claris institute, have denied that there were explicit orders to charge. They've also told the judge that they didn't see any excessive actions.
The inspector, in shirt sleeves in the photo above, who belongs to a command in Madrid, explained that he only gave a prior instruction that "if they couldn't do what they'd been ordered to, they should charge". He explained they didn't require any specific orders to use their batons and that the people present showed a "hostile attitude".
Instead of any direct orders, the commanders said they had a directive: they had to confiscate election material, and quickly. And that is what allegedly led to them enter the schools by force. The pair admit prior meetings between inspectors on the need to act quickly.
The two officers have testified that they saw no irregular situations and that it's possible to use batons against people's faces: "Depending on the level of aggressivity, the face can be hit".
They also said that they gave no warning of the charge because they didn't have a megaphone.
Who gave the orders?
That's still unknown. Neither of the two officials would specify who gave the orders that day. They only explained, for the first time, that there was a "headquarters of the intervention unit" which gave orders by radio, but they didn't identify anyone involved.
On the ground, they received orders by radio from a civil servant who was passing on the orders "from superiors". They didn't detail who these superiors were. In fact, no recordings exist of the police conversations that day, providing the senior leadership with a manner of cover.
One of the famous images from that day (below) is of a woman who was hit in the head by a baton. The inspector today, however, spoke of "alleged blood" or "maybe red paint".
The deputy inspector, the first to testify, who had come expressly from Seville to do so, said that they were obeying orders but that nobody explicitly told them to charge. He explained that the order was to confiscate ballot boxes but they had no exact orders over how to intervene.
The officer, wearing the jacket in the photo above, gave limited details about who his superiors are. He only referred to the head of his group and the core coordinator.
He is accused of hitting a female voter in the head with his baton at Mediterrània school. He hasn't been recognised in images of the charge in question and said that the National Police Corps doesn't normally use its batons. Police protocols state that hits can never come above the waist and that hitting the head is forbidden.
Where he was recognised was in film from a staircase in Pau Claris institute (below). He is seen throwing a woman down the stairs, but says that the woman in question fell due to the force and inertia of him trying to lift her up. He also denied touching anyone's breasts.
The police officers only answered questions from the judge and prosecutor.