The new “Law for citizen safety” (currently under debate) is suggesting a fine of up to 30,000€ (minimum: 1001€) for “shouting, insulting or behaving aggressively” towards a copper during a manifestation.
Other hardcore, move along good citizen nothing to see here suggestions are fines of between 30,000€ and 600,000€ for taking or distributing photos identifying a police officer in the course of their duties. Ouch.
Which makes me think: there is currently a big fuss over the actions of 8 Catalan coppers who beat a businessman to death after he got into an argument with one of them. (The mossos have actually managed to overtake the Guardia Civil for being a byeword for random violence and physical abuse in the popular imagination) They’re only being sentenced after a local neighbour recorded the attack and the media aired the video. Under this new law – it would be the neighbour being prosecuted, not the killer cops….
In all, the new law establishes 21 new Infractions which are considered “severe” with fines almost double the average annual salary.
One of them, interestingly enough, is protesting outside Parliament without a license: 600,000€ per person.
Coppers will also be allowed to “immobilise” a person who doesn’t immediately identify themselves to them, and there are some new laws governing “immobilise” : ie, if the person dies, it’s their fault for making a copper sit on them.
Some new infractions are tolerable: heavy fines for pointing a laser light into the eyes of anyone piloting or driving a vehicle; parents are financially liable for street damage caused by petty vandalism of their children, prostitution near schools or playparks illegal.
Interesting note about identification: If you’re Spanish, you’ll have to hand over your ID and wait patiently until the copper decides to return it (the law was murky before). You also have to show your ID at once. However, if you’re a guiri the cops aren’t allowed to take your ID out of your possession without a judicial order. Meaning you need to show your passport on demand, but you don’t have to hand it over.
However, given that cops will now be able to sit on you and direct a few crafty kicks to the ribs without getting into any trouble (hey Sarge, he looked at me funny and tried to take a photo of me with his camera phone…) I wouldn’t try any heroics.
Mention Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? to the average Spaniard and they’ll just look at you funny….. Although say it to one of the political elite, and they’ll rattle off Galucon’s little known reply from Plato’s The Republic which runs, from memory, “How absurd it would be that a guardian should need a guard!“.