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JUSTICE

Prosecutors file murder charges against eight Catalan police over businessman’s beating

The Mossos d’Esquadra officers could also face torture counts in connection with incident that led to 50-year-old’s death

Prosecutors in Barcelona on Friday asked for eight members of the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra police force to be charged with murder in connection with the beating of a 50-year-old businessman in the city’s Raval district.

Juan Andrés Benítez died the following day after the Mossos had allegedly punched, kneed and kicked him when he was already on the ground as the police tried to arrest him.

Prosecutors have also filed torture charges against the officers.

According to a motion filed with a judge, prosecutors described the police action as “excessive, out of proportion and an overreaction.”

Benítez, who owned shops in the city's gay-friendly "Gayxample" district, died the following day from respiratory failure related to his injuries.

Police have told an investigating judge that Benítez, whom they had gone to arrest following a disturbance, was extremely violent, appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, and was even foaming at the mouth.

A toxicology report obtained by EL PAÍS last November showed that he had a small amount of cocaine in his system at the time of his death but, according to experts, the level was “insignificant.”