Four French police officers were brought to justice on Sunday, implicated in the beating of a black music producer which shocked the whole country, contributed to a strong mobilization against a security law and increased pressure on the government.
• Read also: Investigation for “violence”, four police officers suspended
The demonstrations organized on Saturday throughout France and punctuated by violence brought together more than 130,000 people, according to the Ministry of the Interior, 500,000 according to the organizers.
In a tense political context for the government, which has turned its backs on journalists, directors, documentary filmmakers, rights defenders and part of the population with its proposed law on global security, the Loopsider site had broke the scandal Thursday in France by publishing the video of Michel Zecler, violently beaten for several minutes in his music studio on November 21 in Paris by three police officers, before a fourth came to throw a tear gas canister from outside inside the room.
In a second video released on Friday, Mr Zecler is seen being beaten again in the street, once checked out of the studio, while surrounded by numerous police officers who do not react.
Mr. Zecler said he was repeatedly called a “dirty nigger”. According to the daily The Parisian, the police officers contested in police custody any racist dimension to their attitude.
The Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz must officially announce the follow-up to the custody of the four police officers, which began on Friday afternoon at the General Inspectorate of the National Police (“the police force”).
According to a source familiar with the matter, they were presented to justice on Sunday.
An investigation has been opened against them since Tuesday for “willful violence by a person holding public authority”, with the aggravating circumstance of racism and “forgery in public writing”, a crime punishable by assizes, even if this offense succeeds most of the time to prosecution in a criminal court.
The French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, announced Thursday “the dismissal” of the police officers involved “as soon as the facts are established by justice”. He accused them of having “soiled the uniform of the Republic”.
President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday his “shame” at these images, among the most viral in 2020 in terms of information.
For the third time this year, the Head of State asked the government to quickly make proposals to him “to fight more effectively against all forms of discrimination”.
This affair brought water to the mill of the # StopLoiS SécuritéGlobale coordination, according to which the bill supported by Mr. Darmanin “aims to undermine the freedom of the press, the freedom to inform and be informed. », And which protests in particular against a provision aimed at controlling the image of the police.
The coordination argues that a good deal of police violence would have gone unpunished if it had not been captured by the eye of the cameras.
She “firmly” denounced the “some degradation and violence in Paris and Lyon”, including “violence against police on the Place de la Bastille” after the end of the Paris demonstration.
About sixty members of the security forces were injured, according to the government.
Several videos posted on social networks showed police beaten by demonstrators, “unacceptable violence”, according to Mr. Darmanin.
According to a report from the Ministry of the Interior, 81 people were arrested across France.
In Paris, Ameer al Halbi, 24, a freelance Syrian photographer, collaborator of Polka and AFP, which was covering the protest, suffered facial injuries.
Two demonstrators, who made a report to the General Inspectorate of the Police, were also injured in the provinces, according to the police.