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Police Facing Prison for Checkpoint Shootout

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Two local police officers from Santa Pola are on trial this week, facing 5 years in prison, for opening fire on a vehicle that failed to stop at a checkpoint.

The driver of the vehicle, whom the officers state drove at them at speed, faces 4 years in prison.

The prosecution is claiming that the officers used disproportionate force to try to stop the vehicle, which would tantamount to attempted murder. The officers state, corroborated by the forensic evidence collected at the scene, that they only shot at the vehicle, and not the occupant, and therefore the force was proportionate.

The case is being heard in Elche court this week, after the incident took place in March, 2009, when the officers were conducting a routine checkpoint in the town.

As the vehicle approached it then failed to stop as requested and increased speed in order to pass through the checkpoint. The officers involved all reported similar accounts, although a lot of confusion arose due to the short time frame of the incident, which resulted in the officers being injured as they were forced to the ground to avoid being hit by the vehicle.

The driver´s account of the incident is that he did stop and it was when he drove away that he was shot at, from behind and from the front of the vehicle. In a subsequent crash of the vehicle the driver received injuries to his knee.

The trial will resume on 17 June when the final conclusions will be made.

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