• Spain's news in English

Catalan police chief quits amid rubber bullet row

AFP · 28 May 2014, 09:53

Published: 28 May 2014 09:53 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Manel Prat, who has headed Catalonia's regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, since 2011 has faced growing calls to step down since a judge ruled last month that the woman was hurt by a rubber bullet shot by police.

Catalan police insist they did not use rubber bullets during clashes with protesters during a general strike in Barcelona, the capital of the northeastern Spanish region, in November 2012.

They argue the woman, Ester Quintana, was injured by violent rioters.

Two officers from the Mossos d'Esquadra face a trial over the incident, which led the Catalan government to ban the use of rubber bullets. Police now use rifles that fire foam pellets.

Prat told a hastily convened news conference in Barcelona that he had tendered his "irrevocable resignation" to the head of the regional Catalan government on Tuesday morning.

"I take this decision for strictly personal reasons as I feel that from a professional point of view I have closed a very important stage in my life," he said.

He insisted that his decision to step down had nothing to do with Quintana's injury, adding he was confident that the two police officer under investigation over the injury would be absolved of any wrongdoing.

"I have said, and I want to make it clear again today, that if undeniable evidence emerged, referring to images, that demonstrated her injury was caused by a rubber bullet I would resign immediately. This is not the situation and I am not going for this reason," he said.

The Mossos d'Esquadra has also been heavily criticised after eight of its members were indicted last year on suspicion of beating up a man while arresting him in Barcelona, causing his death.

Spanish media have broadcast video footage taken by area residents from their balconies showing policemen repeatedly kicking and punching the man as they pinned him down on the sidewalk.

Story continues below…

Catalan police have said they were forced to pin the man down because he was agitated and had turned on them.

Police clashed with protesters who burned bins and vehicles in Barcelona on Monday as anger boiled over at the eviction of activists from a well-known squat.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join The Local on Facebook and Twitter. 

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make classic Spanish ham croquettes
Photo: thespanishcuisine.com

Learn how to make this all-time Spanish favourite at home.

Halloween weekend: Sunny skies and nightmare traffic
Authorities expect 5.5 million cars to take to the road over the 'puente'. Archive photo: AFP

Spain is set for great weather over the long weekend. But be prepared for nightmare traffic.

Southern Spain will become a desert with global warming
Photo: Steven Stralton / Flickr

Southern Spain will become a desert if global warning continues, scientists have warned.

Eight Spanish films to truely terrify you this Halloween
Photo: Corie Howell / Flickr Creative Commons.

Looking for something to give you goosebumps this Halloween? The Local looks at eight Spanish films that are sure to have you cowering beneath the covers.

Spain's Socialists refuse to go easy on Rajoy once in power
Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists may have reluctantly decided to let Mariano Rajoy govern again but they will not go easy on the acting conservative premier once he re-takes power, they warned on Thursday.

Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available