Spanish police violence

The burial of the man who died last week while being held in custody by Spanish civil guard police in Roquetas de Mar (Almeria) is due to be held this morning.

Headlines in the Spanish press have been dominated by the death of Juan Martinez Galdeano who had gone to the police station to seek protection from people who were chasing him following a traffic incident he had been involved in. According to police reports, Martinez Galdeano became violent when members of the civil guard police tried to perform a breathalyser test and was restrained and then arrested by police.

Images from a camara in the courtyard of the police station apparantly show part of the struggle between Martinez Galdeano, including use of two kinds of non-reglamentary police truncheons, one of which gives electric shocks. And the forense report states that the hands and feet of the victim had been tied before his death.

Nine policemen have been summoned to declare before the judge appointed to lead an independent investigation into the incident, and the Civil Guard General Direction yesterday suspended the lieutenant of the police station where the incident took place.

According to reports in the Spanish press, this is not the first time the suspended lieutenant, seen in the camara images striking the victim with an electric truncheon, has been accused of using excessive violence.

Spain’s vice president yesterday promised a full investigation into the incident and said that respect of human rights remained a core priority of the Socialist government. She said that the government’s pulse “would not tremble” if the results of the investigation indicated need for further reform within the civil guard police force.