Court finds “solid evidence” that death of businessman was linked to use of force

Ten police officers denied request not to be tried by popular jury in Juan Andrés Benítez case

A video recorded by witnesses of Juan Andrés Benitez’s arrest.

The Barcelona Provincial Court has found “solid evidence” to indicate that the death of a businessman who was detained by police on October 6 is linked to “the disproportionate, excessive use of force by the Mossos d’Esquadra [regional law enforcement agency] who participated in his arrest.”

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The court report uses this argument to reject a request by the defense of the 10 police officers under investigation to ensure that they are not tried by a popular jury. The lawyers had claimed that their clients had no willful intention to kill Juan Andrés Benítez, who was arrested by police in Barcelona’s Gayxample area after they were called to a disturbance.

Last month it emerged that the initial autopsy of Benítez’s body did not take into account the fact that half-an-hour before being reduced by the Mossos, the victim had gotten into a street fight with a couple, due to an argument about a dog. He had also ingested cocaine, and had a heart condition. A subsequent report by two forensic experts said that the man died of “multiple causes.”

On April 2, two other men died after being arrested by Mossos, although so far there is no evidence to indicate that they were beaten. A preliminary autopsy of Alfons Bayard, an actor who died after being detained at a street café where he was bothering the customers, shows no blows of any consideration, legal sources said on Tuesday.

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