France is shaken by a new case of police violence, in the midst of a debate on a controversial bill criminalizing the malicious dissemination of images captured during police interventions.
The scandal came through images published by the Loopsider website showing three police officers giving a severe beating to a black music producer on Saturday in the entrance of a music studio in Paris.
On CCTV footage from this studio, we see the three police officers entering the studio grabbing hold of Michel Zecler, then hitting him with fists, kicks or batons.
According to these same images, the producer resists by refusing to let himself be carried away, then tries to protect his face and body. The scene lasts five minutes.
The police then try to force the door open and throw a tear gas canister inside the studio.
I've been told dirty nigga many times and punching me, denounced Mr. Zecler, shining the spotlight on the racist aspect of this police intervention.
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 law.
"Without these images" …
Another example of the need to be able to film the police.#GlobalSecurityLaw https://t.co/Y3C3V1rax8
– Yanik Dumont Baron (@Ydb) November 26, 2020
Videos that contradict the police version
After the arrest, Mr. Zecler was initially taken into police custody as part of an investigation into
violence against a person holding public authority and
According to their minutes consulted by AFP, the police pleaded to have arrested him for failing to wear a mask.
As we try to intercept him, he forcibly pulls us into the building, they wrote.
The Paris public prosecutor's office finally closed the first investigation opened against Mr. Zecler and opened a new procedure for
violence by people holding public authority and
false in public writing.
The music producer has also lodged a complaint with the Paris headquarters of the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN).
Three police officers have since been suspended, followed by a fourth, the one who arrived as reinforcement and is suspected of having thrown a tear gas canister into the music studio.
The four men will be heard this Friday in the premises of the IGPN.
If we didn't have the videos my client might be in jail right now, his lawyer, Me Hafida El Ali, summed up to AFP.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, sponsor of the controversial comprehensive security bill, has since claimed that the police have
soiled the uniform of the Republic and he would ask
their revocation .
Government's legislative approach shaken
Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday evening the creation of a
independent commission responsible for proposing a new writing of Article 24 of the Comprehensive Security Bill.
This article prohibits the dissemination of
facial image or any other identifying element members of the security forces in intervention, when she wears
physical or mental integrity.
Any offender, whether a citizen or a journalist, would be liable to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (CA $ 70,000), according to the version adopted Tuesday by the Assembly. national, but not yet considered by the Senate.
Praised by the police unions, the bill is supported by the right and the far right, but decried by the left and the defenders of public freedoms who see it
a disproportionate infringement the freedom to inform and the sign of an authoritarian drift of the presidency of Emmanuel Macron.
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