Sack Guardia Civil chief, say police officers

8th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 August 2005, MADRID – Spain's main police union called on Monday for the sacking of the director general of the Guardia Civil over the death of a 39-year-old man in custody.

8 August 2005

MADRID – Spain's main police union called on Monday for the sacking of the director general of the Guardia Civil over the death of a 39-year-old man in custody.

At a press conference, the United Association of Guardia Civil's president Fernando Carrillo said Carlos Gomez Arruche had kept a "shameful silence" during the investigation into how farmer Juan Martinez Galdeano died at a station in Roquetas de Mar.

A judicial inquiry is currently investigating claims that the police station's deputy hit the farmer with a truncheon. The deputy in charge of the station and seven of his subordinate officers have been suspended from duties for six months during the investigations.

Carrillo called on interior minister Jose Antonio Alonso to dismiss Arruche if he believed there had been "resistance" to an investigation within the Guardia Civil.

The union head also called for any change necessary within the force to be urgently introduced to change the institution's culture of "silence and corporatism". Carrillo wants to see the Guardia Civil given proper training on procedure and human rights.

"The interior minister should take a scalpel and start dissecting to see who is responsible for the lack of clarity in the investigation which is damaging the Guardia Civil and feeding suspicion over the force," said Carrillo.

The union has already criticised politicians for their comments on the case, claiming the officers involved are being judged outside the justice system, forgetting the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

The union's comments were echoed by the families of officers involved the day Roquetas' deputy was due to appear in the judicial inquiry to give his side of events on the night of 24 July.

The deputy was expected to argue he never hit Galdeano directly, but did use a truncheon in defence against blows against a number of his officers. The police chief will also tell the court Galdeano was high on drugs and, as a result, extremely aggressive.

The family of Galdeano, however, is due to ask for the police chief to be taken into custody during investigations.

As witnesses arrived at the court in Roquetas in Almeria on Monday afternoon, a scuffle broke out between supporters of the police officers and residents who tried to remove placards with messages such as "Courage, you have a clean conscience".

One man, who is believed to have produced a gun, was arrested.

With public tensions over the case running high, Alonso has promised to address congress on Thursday about the case – more than a month earlier than the appearance he initially scheduled.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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