Ferran López, the man in charge of Mossos d’Esquadra after Spain imposed direct rule in Catalonia, testified this Wednesday in the trial against pro-independence leaders. He defended the role of the Catalan police and the body’s independence, assuring that they “never collaborated either in the preparation or in the execution of the referendum”. López insisted that the Mossos “attempted to comply with the judicial order” aimed at preventing people from voting and added that the body’s leadership expressed their “concern” to Catalan President at that time, Carles Puigdemont, regarding the referendum day and how the events were supposed to unfold.
To prove that, former deputy police chief pointed out that on the referendum day, Mossos d’Esquadra officers seized a total of 423 ballot boxes, 90,000 ballot papers, and 60,000 envelopes. López also denied accusations that the Catalan police failed to support Spanish officers, accusing Spanish law enforcement of not sharing information and breaking off the coordinated police operation on the day of the vote. During his tesimony, he insisted that Mossos were always “loyal” to Diego Pérez de los Cobos, the Guardia Civil colonel charged with coordinating the different police forces during the independence referendum.
López, who was Trapero’s right-hand man before replacing him as chief of the Catalan Police when Madrid’s Government saked him, admitted differences with Catalan Minister for Home Affairs Joaquim Forn. “He was reacting in the opposite way to us”, he said, considering that his attitude was “stressing the gap between the Catalan Government and the police leadership”. According to López, Catalan Minister Forn made the “mistake” of pledging the vote would go ahead.