The activist of Femen, M. A. M., at the time of her detention by the police on November 20, in Madrid.Víctor Lerena (EFE)
The magistrate Juan Javier Pérez, head of the Court of Instruction number 11 of Madrid, has archived the case opened against the agent of the Police Intervention Unit (UIP, known as riot police) who had been accused of a crime against sexual freedom, allegedly for having touched the breasts voluntarily to an activist of Femen during a protest of this group held in the capital on November 20. The judge considers, after taking statements from the complainant, the police officer and the photographer who took the image in which the incident was collected, that although the contact existed, it did not have "lubricious or sexual purpose" on the part of the agent, but was the result of "the physical resistance opposed by the plaintiff, which made the reduction maneuver difficult". The magistrate only reproaches the agent who "could have been more careful when trying to find a less compromised body part to grab and reduce" the activist. The decision is not final and can be appealed.
The events denounced took place around 12.40 that day, when three activists of the feminist group entered Madrid's Plaza de Oriente from Felipe V Street to protest in front of the concentration in homage to the dictator Francisco Franco that was taking place at that time. Among the activists was M.A.M., who joined this mobilization for the third year. As on previous occasions, the women took off their coats just then and advanced bare-chested towards the rally, while shouting "to fascism, no honor, no glory." According to the complaint, at that time they were intercepted by several police officers, who detained them.
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Two of the activists said that the agents who held them did so with "evident professionalism," while the third, who was the one who denounced, accused the police officer who arrested her of squeezing her breasts with both hands, in a maneuver that she considered unnecessary, "abusing her situation of superiority, and using her status as an agent of the authority." The complaint noted that the officer was smiling when he did so. The three women were released after being identified by the police. A few days later, the affected woman filed a complaint against the agent, which the Court admitted for processing on January 19. Last April, the two protagonists of the incident and the photographer of the EFE agency who took the image were called to testify.
As detailed by the judge in the order by which he has agreed to the file of the case, the complainant said that her resistance to detention was "passive" and that, however, the agent "squeezed her breasts and that contact lasted about 30 seconds." On the other hand, the police officer said that this contact lasted "about 10 seconds" and that the young woman had an active resistance that forced a second agent to intervene to reduce her. At all times he denied that he intentionally grabbed her breasts or smiled. The photographer who took the images came to largely confirm the version of the riot police by stating that two agents had to intervene to reduce the woman before his resistance, during which "he put his left elbow in the area of the agent's stomach, stuck his ass, and the agent moved away." The witness added that the controversial contact lasted "a few seconds."
In the order ordering the closure of the case, the magistrate emphasizes that the examination of the images provided by the photojournalist to the case reveal that "the contact with the breasts alleged by the complainant was not the only physical contact maintained between her and the agent. [...] The photographs show that the accused officer was holding the complainant from behind, showing contact between the agent's hands and the complainant's breasts, but also other contacts of the agent's hands with the shoulders and other parts of the complainant's body, contacts not suspected of a sexual motive". Adds.
The judge emphasizes that these images also show "an attitude of clear resistance on the part of the plaintiff, a fact that justified its reduction by force to prevent the alteration of an authorized public act." And he emphasizes that "the fact of carrying out the protest naked from the waist up supposed the possibility that in its foreseeable reduction by force, there would be some physical contact with its bare chest, especially if that reduction was opposed by an active resistance". On whether the policeman smiled during the maneuver, the car emphasizes that "a conclusive assessment cannot be reached. The gesture that appears in the photographs could be a smile, or also a grimace for the effort, as alleged by the defendant, "he says.
The judge concludes that "it cannot be inferred that the defendant touched the plaintiff's breasts for lubricious or sexual purposes, which could be a contact of short duration and due to the physical resistance opposed by the plaintiff, which made the reduction maneuver difficult." For all these reasons, it decrees the archiving of the case. Aarón Rivero, general secretary of the Police Justice Union (Jupol), whose legal team has led the defense of the riot police defendant, has been "satisfied" by the decision of the magistrate before what he calls "false and torticera denunciation". "We cannot tolerate police officers being monitored for the mere fact of doing their job," he added.