Five women denounce exposed officer in Barcelona for abuse
The Catalan biweekly “La Directa” has unmasked an undercover officer who infiltrated social movements in Barcelona on behalf of the Spanish National Police for over three years. According to the report, the 31-year-old policeman began his mission in 2020, posing as a Mallorcan and using the alias “Daniel Hernàndez Pons”. According to the research, his real name is also composed of the initials D.H.P..
“Dani” was apparently targeting people and groups involved in police violence, anti-capitalism and gentrification. He was present at at least four evictions, according to “La Directa”. In the process, the police informer had also committed crimes, in one case he was supposed to pay a fine of 600 Euros for disguising himself.
His unmasking was due to unspecified mistakes by the police officer, according to the newspaper. Afterwards, activists had confirmed his identity on the basis of photographs from his police academy. “Dani” had graduated in June 2019 and was then sent on the mission to Barcelona. There, he was reportedly first active in an occupied social centre.
Trips also took him to Madrid and the Basque Country, the paper said, citing statements from activists. They described his behaviour pattern as “constant flirting, conflict avoidance and a low political profile”. He had worn conspicuous T-shirts with anti-fascist and anti-police messages.
According to several activists, “Dani” entered into up to eight emotional and sexual relationships during his deployment, including using the dating app “OkCupid” to find people with a particular political interest. The relationships formed through this are said to have helped gain access to squatters’ houses, social centres or groups.
Five affected women announced on Tuesday that they would file criminal charges for sexual abuse. They stress that under no circumstances would they have entered into a relationship with the police officer if they had known his true identity. One of the plaintiffs describes this to “La Directa” as rape.
The undercover officer’s behaviour violates their physical, emotional and moral integrity, says the statement of claim, which includes twenty alleged offences. This also infringes on the sexual autonomy of the women concerned. Further allegations are the violation of moral integrity, the obstruction of the exercise of civil rights and the disclosure of secrets of the persons spied on.
The plaintiffs are now demanding that “Dani”, his superiors and those responsible at the Ministry of the Interior be questioned by a court. This is to determine who authorised the measure and for what period of time. Such investigations with undercover officers may only be ordered in cases of terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking, explains a lawyer for the victims.
Last summer, “La Directa” had already exposed a police spy with the alias “Marc Hernàndez Pon”. The newspaper cannot explain why the two officers were given almost identical surnames by their instructors. However, it was probably a targeted mission by the Ministry of the Interior. After the unmasking of the first undercover investigator, his superiors had also withdrawn “Dani” from Barcelona, who had then claimed to activists that he wanted to stay in the south of Spain and then abroad.
The case in Catalonia that has now come to light is similar to that of British police officer Mark Kennedy, who spent seven years investigating left-wing, sometimes militant movements in Britain and then throughout Europe. He was exposed in 2010 after his then – unwilling – partner found his real passport. Kennedy also had sexual relations with several women.
The revelation of this sexual exploitation in the service eventually led to a broad judicial investigation, starting in 2015, into two units set up from 1968, of which Kennedy was a member. Only afterwards it became known that the officers spied on more than a thousand political groups, including abroad. As part of the investigation, the judge in charge has so far made public several dozen aliases of police officers who were used as undercover agents over the past decades.
At least twenty British officers entered into intimate relationships with women. This also resulted in children whose fathers almost always disappeared after the end of their mission. Eight affected women then filed a lawsuit against the NPOIU, claiming emotional and sexual abuse, among other things. After a ten-year legal battle, the plaintiffs finally received six-figure compensation payments.
“We read with horror the stories of the discovery of another police officer infiltrated in political movements in the Spanish state”, the British women now wrote in a statement in solidarity with the activists in Barcelona. “We know the feelings of anger and sadness generated by the intrusion into your lives, and the sense of disempowerment and abuse to which it leads”, they continue.
“Our hearts go out to the many who will be affected by this, especially the women tricked into being intimate with him. We note that this infiltrator was not the first and probably will not be the last to come to light, and there will undoubtedly be more tales of abuses of power to come. We would like to extend our solidarity to all those affected, in what we know is not, nor will it ever be, an easy moment.”
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: “Daniel Hernàndez Pons” (La Directa).