Punches. Again and again. Hustle. Three against one. Disturbing scenes. What is happening there? Asks the whole of France.
It is the video of a police operation that leaves you stunned and angry. A music producer is brutally attacked by three police officers in the entrance of his Paris recording studio – in the end it is he who ends up in police custody.
His luck: a private surveillance camera films the incident. Even President Emmanuel Macron reacted – it was said that he was “very shocked”. Is that enough?
It is the second time in a week that police brutality has rocked France. A few days ago it was video recordings of the aggressive evacuation of a migrant camp in Paris that left many speechless. The incidents are fueling the debate about a security law with which the government wants to better protect the police and at the same time limit video recordings of police operations.
Police violence occurs again and again in France – often revealed through video recordings. A look at the recent past is enough. During the “yellow west” protests, pictures of brutal police operations made the rounds. The security forces also used hard rubber bullets against peaceful demonstrators, several people were seriously injured in the face and lost an eye. There was international criticism.
In January, a scooter driver died after a police check – his autopsy revealed a broken larynx. Here, too, a video shows the incident. In the summer, thousands demonstrated against racism and police violence. The protests were organized by the sister of a young black man who died while being arrested in 2016. Many see a structural problem with the French police.
The music producer Michel Z. is also black. He claims to have been racially insulted by the officers several times. He describes that he was walking near his studio in the 17th arrondissement without a corona mask, although this is mandatory. Then a police car came and he went into the studio a few meters away. The police followed him. Then the surveillance camera starts recording, about eight and a half minutes.
The pictures show how the officers push Z. into the entrance and hit. “I always said to myself: If you fall to the ground now, you will stay there. Then you won’t be able to get up, ”the producer tells the“ Loopsider ”magazine that published the recordings. With the help of musicians from the studio basement, he can finally push the police out of the studio. A few minutes later, a tear gas cartridge flies into the studio. According to reports, the officials said Z. attacked them.
The recordings show something else. The prosecutor is investigating. The three officers involved and one of their colleagues were suspended and taken into police custody for questioning on Friday afternoon. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin comes under pressure. He demands that the officers be dismissed if the misconduct is confirmed. They had “soiled the uniform of the republic”. Nevertheless, he seems rather defiant. Darmanin is considered a conservative hardliner, the face of law and order. He defends the police. And yes, this is also under pressure because of the terrorist attacks in the country.
It is also Darmamin who defends the new security law despite massive criticism. It should “protect those who protect us”. A controversial article provides that the publication of pictures of security officers in action with the aim of injuring the physical or mental integrity of police officers is punished. A buttery formulation with a huge scope for interpretation. Many media fear for the freedom of the press.
The government keeps claiming that the freedom of the press is not in jeopardy – that is hardly convincing. Prime Minister Jean Castex now wanted an “independent commission” to work on the formulation of the article – Parliament went to the barricades, Castex backed down. The police banned a demonstration against the law this Saturday in Paris. Only one gathering is allowed on Place de la République. The situation there has only just escalated – with the evacuation of the migrant camp.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201127-99-489675 / 3 (dpa)