Video has emerged of Madrid police brutalizing seemingly innocent Manchester City fans ahead of the English side’s epic 3-2 loss to Real last on Sept. 18.
In it, you can clearly see a few overzealous cops – overdressed in riot gear, in contrast to the City fans armed with nothing more than their beers – whacking several fans with their batons, who don’t look like they instigated any sort of confrontation. When their peers are rightly outraged, a few more of them get clubbed.
It’s unclear if anything has been done with this footage, if charges of police brutality or indeed disorderly conduct by the fans have been pressed.
What is clear is that the atmosphere was entirely unthreatening. It looks for all the world like a small gaggle of English fans, enjoying a few days out in Madrid, were attacked without cause. Video can be deceiving, mind, and something may have gotten lost in translation. An ITV presenter, however, claimed there was absolutely no cause for the police to act.
If I may proffer a theory, based on nothing more than this context-free footage, I would suggest that English fans are still stigmatized and feared by police forces around Europe. Never mind that hooliganism has been largely rooted out and the bulk of the few thugs that do remain can’t afford to go to European away games anymore. Even a small assembly of Englishmen, singing and drinking beer in the sun as though they may be, makes the local police nervous.
Either way, what happens in this video is inexcusable.
If we got the whole picture, that is.