A video of the incident released on Thursday caused outrage and protests across the country. It shows how several police officers attack the producer in the entrance of his studio with beating. A little later, a tear gas cartridge flies into the studio.
Three of the officers are accused of, among other things, racist violence by officials, trespassing and forging documents. The fourth official is charged with violence by officials and property damage.
On Sunday evening, the Paris public prosecutor’s office demanded that preliminary proceedings be opened against the four officials. Such a process can ultimately lead to criminal proceedings if investigators see sufficient evidence against the accused. Otherwise, you can stop the proceedings again.
France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had called for the police officers to be dismissed if the allegations were confirmed. They had “soiled the uniform of the republic”. He himself is now supposed to declare himself to the incidents under increasing political pressure in the National Assembly on Monday. President Emmanuel Macron condemned the violence as unacceptable.
The attack on the music producer is the second case of police violence that caused horror and massive criticism in France last week. Last Monday, videos circulated of the brutal evacuation of a makeshift tent camp by migrants on the Place de la République in Paris. Investigations are ongoing here too.
Debate on security law
The incidents have fueled the already heated debate about a planned security law in France. According to the government, the law should better protect the police. Particularly controversial is an article that criminalizes the publication of pictures of security officers in action if this is done with the aim of injuring the physical or mental integrity of the police officers. A prison sentence of one year or a fine of 45,000 euros could be the consequence. The House of Commons has already approved the project, now it is the Senate’s turn.
Over the weekend, more than 100,000 people across the country marched through the streets to demonstrate against the planned law and police violence. In Paris alone there were 46,000, according to the Interior Ministry. The organizers spoke of a total of 500,000 demonstrators and 200,000 in the capital.