Report on Institutional Violence 2022 Report on Institutional Violence 2022


Report on Institutional Violence 2022

#2022#Institutional violence#SAIDAVI#Violencia institucional
Once again this year, the Report on Institutional Violence 2022 analyses the main violations of rights that have been dealt with by the Service of Attention and Denunciation in situations of Institutional Violence (SAIDAVI), which offers free psycho-legal assistance to those affected. During 2022, the Service received 113 requests for action, of which 57 are in this area: 7 of the cases have been taken up as litigation.

The human rights body litigated 62 cases in 2022, for which a total of 131 persons are under investigation: 122 police officers, 7 private security officers and 2 prison officers. In 33% of the cases there is a racism component.


It is necessary to highlight two very important resolutions in the fight against impunity for institutional violence. On the one hand, the ruling of the Constitutional Court (TC) which upheld the first amparo appeal filed by Irídia, for violation of the right to effective judicial protection, in relation to the right to information and the right not to suffer cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The judgment refers to the case of S.E., a journalist who was hit with a foam bullet while covering the 2019 post-sentence protests. Her case was closed without sufficient investigation, and now the TC has ordered it to be reopened. On the other hand, the TSJC upheld an appeal against the judgement acquitting a Mossos d’Esquadra officer who hit a protester in the head with a truncheon during a rally against the presence of the King in Barcelona in 2018. The TSJC declared it null and void, concluding that the court’s assessment of the evidence had been ‘objectively erroneous, irrational and clearly incomplete’, and ordered a retrial, insofar as the complainant’s right to effective judicial protection had been violated.

This year the report focuses on police interventions with a racist bias. In total, since the creation of SAIDAVI in 2016, it has carried out legal representation in 96 cases: 45.8% corresponds to actions directed at people not born in Spain. In the case of those that occurred in the public space, this percentage rises to 58.3%, i.e. 14 of the 24 cases that have occurred in this context. These cases are characterised by the disproportionality of the action, the initiation of the action from a racist motivation (after an identification by ethnic-racial profiling or motivating the intervention) and/or by the use of clearly racist vexatious comments. It should be noted that two of the elements identified as triggering the violent situation are, on the one hand, the non-recognition or questioning of the veracity of the information given by the person and, on the other hand, the association of a person with a criminal act on the basis of his or her ethnic-racial profile.

The case of Imad, who was assaulted by a patrol of four local police officers outside a discotheque in Cornellà, stands out. The officers went straight to them and asked for identification. When they wanted to know the reason, one of the officers replied with the phrase: ‘Moro de mierda, aren’t you from there? Fuck off, I’m going to bust your head in. He then punched him in the mouth, causing him to lose a tooth, among other injuries. Faced with this physical and verbal aggression perpetrated by an unidentified officer, Imad repeatedly asked ‘what they were doing and why they were hitting him’ while trying to record the facts. The same officer who had beaten him then took his phone away from him, following the orders of another officer present. He then continued to be beaten by all the officers on the scene, while racist insults were hurled at him. While he was on the ground, the officer who gave the order to take away his phone took it and erased the content of the video he had managed to record. However, the victim was later able to retrieve it from the trash bin of his device.

While all this was going on, two police officers who had arrived at the scene on foot, together with the fourth officer who had left the police vehicle, covered their friend to prevent him from recording the incident with his phone. When the officers finally left, leaving the young man lying on the ground and bleeding, he called 112 to request the presence of the Mossos d’Esquadra and an ambulance to take him to a medical centre, as it was impossible for him to go on his own feet. The young man suffered physical and psychological injuries.

In this regard, it should also be noted that during 2022, and for the total of 62 cases litigated, the Psychosocial Area of the entity has carried out 205 interventions. Once again, it is clear that institutional violence has a strong psychological impact. These effects require prolonged attention over time and can be aggravated by the judicial process, in which the administration perpetuates the impunity of the facts or does not validate the story of the affected person, thus re-victimising them. It is also necessary to point out that police racism has specific psychosocial impacts, associated with the fact that the person who suffers it has an impact on his or her perception as a full citizen.

We note that, following the trend of the past years, in only 11 of the 57 cases that remain open has any kind of inquiry been carried out through the police’s internal investigation mechanisms, and only 3 of these investigations have been initiated ex officio. In none of the cases have these investigations led to the identification of specific perpetrators of the reported act who were not already identified. Furthermore, in only 2 cases did the Prosecutor’s Office play a proactive role in promoting the investigation or prosecution. On the other hand, in 28 cases it has played a role contrary to the practice of an exhaustive and effective investigation of the facts reported, and in the rest its role has been one of inactivity. It should also be noted that in 28 of these cases (49%) the proceedings have at some point been closed or processed as a misdemeanour procedure before all the investigative measures have been carried out: in 15 cases the appeal by Irídia has been accepted so that the proceedings may continue, and in 4 cases a resolution is awaited.

It is also necessary to highlight the good practices of the administration. This year, we highlight above all the Study Commission on the Police Model of the Parliament of Catalonia, which presented its conclusions on 2 December 2022. In this framework, the parliamentary groups approved the prohibition of the SIR-X, the most damaging type of foam projectile currently in use, as well as the creation of an Office of Attention to victims of institutional violence. Likewise, the entry into force of the 360-degree identification system in the ARRO of the Mossos d’Esquadra, a historical demand, was also positively valued.

Finally, we make a number of recommendations to the administrations, the main one of which is the creation of an independent control mechanism for police forces. We also call for the improvement of the internal control mechanisms of all police forces. We also stress the need for the implementation of stop forms, in order to avoid police stops based on ethnic-racial profiling, which are also often the origin of racist, unjustified and/or disproportionate police actions. In addition, we ask for more autonomy and means for the DAI (Internal Affairs Division) of the Mossos and for the creation of a specialised unit on racist discrimination within this body. In this sense, the organisation considers it essential that the conclusions approved in December 2022 in the Study Commission on the Police Model of the Parliament of Catalonia be implemented, especially the one referring to the approval of the withdrawal of foam SIR-X projectiles, the most harmful ones.

At the state level, it proposes that police officers be identified in three visible places (front, back and helmet). It also calls for a nationwide ban on the use of rubber bullets. At Catalan level, it calls for an extension of the current one-month deadline for the retention of CCTV footage in police stations. It also asks the Ministry of Justice to reinstate the Circular 2/2011 regulating the use of restraints in prisons, which was replaced in February 2022 by a regulation that does not aim for zero restraints. It also requests that the report of the Ministry of the Interior include a breakdown of the offences for which sanctions have been applied and the type of sanctions applied.