Three police officers were “suspended as a precaution” Thursday, after being implicated in the beating of a music producer on Saturday in Paris. The Minister of the Interior had requested it a few hours earlier after the video of the incident was broadcast on social networks. The IGPN was also seized.
The images shocked the Minister of the Interior. Three police officers were “suspended as a precaution”, Thursday November 26, after being implicated in the beating of a music producer, Saturday November 21, according to a source familiar with the matter. Gérald Darmanin had requested it a few hours earlier, after videos of the incident had been posted on social networks. This in the midst of the controversy over the bill on “global security”.
The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, had asked in the morning the Paris police chief, Didier Lallement, to suspend them. The prefect, in accordance with the procedure, made a request to the director general of the national police, the only one able to suspend them. Frédéric Veaux therefore complied.
This case comes in the midst of a controversy over a bill that regulates the dissemination of images of the police in operation, called “Global security”. And also after the muscular evacuation, Monday, November 23, of a migrant camp in the heart of the capital.
The images released Thursday by the Loopsider site show a man called “Michel” who is subjected to a volley of beatings by police officers while he is at the entrance of a music studio of the XVIIe district of Paris.
“I was told ‘dirty nigger’ several times and punching me,” denounced the victim, coming to file a complaint, with his lawyer, at the Paris headquarters of the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) . “People who have to protect me attack me (…) I did nothing to deserve this”, he continued to the press, “I just want these three people to be punished by the law” .
In a rare public statement, the Paris prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, wanted the IGPN, seized of the file, to investigate “as quickly as possible”. “This is an extremely important matter to me and that I have been following personally since Saturday,” he told AFP.
Police officers suspected of “forgery in public writing”
According to their report consulted by AFP, the police tried to arrest him for not wearing a mask. “As we try to intercept him, he drags us into the building by force,” they write.
In CCTV footage from this studio, also viewed by AFP, the three police officers are seen entering the studio, grabbing the man, then punching, kicking or baton him.
In their report, the police wrote several times that the man had beaten them. But according to these same images, “Michel” resists by refusing to let himself be taken on, then tries to protect his face and body. He does not appear to be striking. The wrestling scene lasts five minutes.
Secondly, people who were in the basement of the studio manage to reach the entrance, causing the police to withdraw outside and close the studio door.
The police then try to force the door and throw a tear gas canister inside the studio, which smokes the room. Other images unveiled by Loopsider and shot by residents show the police officers pointing their guns in the street and urging “Michel” to leave the studio.
Following this arrest, the man was initially placed in police custody as part of an investigation opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office for “violence against a person holding public authority” and “rebellion” .
But the Paris prosecutor’s office closed this investigation and opened a new procedure on Tuesday for “violence by persons holding public authority” and “forgery in public writing”, entrusted to the IGPN.
Asked by AFP, the Defender of Rights said she also opened an investigation into the violence suffered by “‘Michel”.
“If we did not have the videos, my client would perhaps be currently in prison,” denounced for his part Michel’s lawyer, Me Hafida El Ali. His client benefits from a total incapacity for work (ITT) of six days.
“Unsustainable aggression” : the left and the Greens demand the withdrawal of the article 24
“On these images, it is not a republican police force but a barbarian militia out of control”, denounced on Twitter Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI). “Prefect Lallement must leave. The police must be taken back in hand.” “These images are unbearable”, reacted Thursday on Twitter the first deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Grégoire (PS). “Terrible and unjustifiable images”, added deputy Matthieu Orphelin.
“Through Michel’s unbearable aggression (…) it is our humanity which is being affected”, for his part tweeted Christophe Castaner, boss of LREM deputies and former Minister of the Interior. “Zero tolerance against racism and against this violence, which have no place in our Republic.”
Left and environmentalists have unanimously condemned this beating and see in it the justification for their request for the withdrawal of the controversial article 24 of the “Global Security” law.
This case comes after the adoption this week by the National Assembly of this text, which arouses strong criticism from journalists, defenders of freedoms and the opposition.
Its article 24, the most controversial, punishes one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for the dissemination of “facial images or any other identification element” of members of the police in intervention, when it “undermines” their “physical or mental integrity”.
This text, which must be examined in the Senate, has aroused strong criticism from journalists and defenders of freedoms.
This new controversy also arises three days after the muscular evacuation, Monday evening, of a migrant camp Place de la République in Paris, which is already the subject of investigations. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened two of them, relating to acts of “violence” of which the police are suspected on a migrant and a journalist.