Paris – A black man who was beaten by several French police officers said he was seeking justice after posting videos of officers repeatedly hitting him using a rubber truncheon and tear gas for no apparent reason.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin suspended the officers involved in the case.
The incident occurred when the government of President Emmanuel Macron introduced a new bill that would limit the ability of police to film, sparking protests from civil liberties groups and journalists that would allow police brutality to remain undiscovered and unpunished.
Videos first published by French news site Loopsider on Thursday show the violent arrest of music producer Michel Zecler on Saturday in the 17th district or district of the French capital.
Video recorded by the Associated Press from both the studio’s internal security camera and outside neighbors shows three officers following Zecler in his music studio, where they can be seen being beaten and beaten several times with sticks.
Zecler told the Associated Press that he was now “well turned out” to feel “good.”
“I want to understand why I was abused by people who wore police uniforms.” I want justice because I believe in the justice of my country, ”he said.
Zecler said officers had repeatedly insulted him, including a very strong racist token.
He added that he still did not understand why they had decided to arrest the officers. He suffered injuries to his head, forearms and legs.
His lawyer, Hafida El Ali, said: “He asked them what they wanted if they wanted to verify his identity. … They didn’t stop beating, the video of the violence (in the studio) lasts 12 minutes. “
The officers once called for reinforcements and went out. A tear gas grenade was then thrown into the studio to get the occupants out, according to El Ali.
El Ali said nine other people who played in the basement of the studio were also beaten.
“Outside, they were still beaten and thrown to the ground, and that’s the moment a police officer sees them being shot,” he said. Then the violence ends.
Zecler was taken into custody.
“These images are obviously scandalous,” Justice Secretary Eric Dupond-Moretti said in a television interview. “There are racist cops, lawyers or bakers, but to say that the police are racist, that’s not true.”
Zecler’s attorney stressed the value of the videos for his client.
“These videos are essential because my client was initially detained … for violence against public officials,” El Ali said. “It’s very serious. The reality is that if it weren’t for these videos, my client could be in jail.
Darmanin tweeted that the body of the National Police Inspectorate, known as the French acronym IGPN, is investigating allegations of police misconduct, saying, “I want disciplinary action as soon as possible.”
In a statement, the Paris police chief said the IGPN was trying to establish the exact circumstances of the man’s arrest.
The Paris prosecutor’s office is also investigating police measures. The prosecution said on Thursday that it had terminated the proceedings against Zecler and opened the day of his arrest, instead initiating an investigation into “acts of violence by a person in a public position” and “false statements”.
According to Le Parisien newspaper, based on the written record of statements made the day after the officers were arrested, Zecler drew their attention because he was not wearing a mask – which is mandatory outdoors in Paris amid the coronavirus epidemic. He seemed to be “nervous” and “strong with the smell of drugs”. They said it was “dangerous” to them.
Zecler’s lawyer said, “My client never committed violence against the police … He didn’t even defend himself.”
This is the second such police brutality investigation in Paris launched by video footage. The government ordered an internal police investigation on Tuesday after being shot from police to toss migrants out of tents and deliberately overthrow one while evacuating the protest camp.
On the same day, the lower house of France approved a bill to strengthen the local police and provide greater protection for all officers. It is a particular crime to post pictures of officers with the intent to harm them. Following the recent terrorist attacks, the bill, which is supported by the public, will now be submitted to the Senate.