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Mbappe speaks out after Paris police officers suspended over beating of black man

Written by on 27/11/2020

A French minister has ordered the suspension of police officers filmed beating and racially abusing a black music producer in Paris on Saturday.

The incident was captured on CCTV and made headline news on French television channels.

Videos first published on Thursday by French news website Loopsider show the violent arrest of Michel Zecler, in the 17th arrondissement of the French capital on Saturday.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin met breeders whose horses were attacked
Image: French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said those involved ‘must be sanctioned’

The footage shows three officers following Mr Zecler inside his music studio, where he is punched and beaten with a truncheon.

Mr Zecler told reporters on Thursday he had been walking around nearby without a face mask – against French COVID-19 health protocols – and upon seeing a police car, went into his music studio to avoid getting a fine.

However, the police followed him inside and attacked him.

“I was lucky enough, unlike many other people, to have had the video that protects me,” he said.

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French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has ordered the suspension of officers involved and said they would be sanctioned if the alleged wrongdoing was confirmed.

“When people overstep the boundaries, they must give up the uniform of the Republic, they must be sanctioned and they must be punished by the justice system,” Mr Darmanin said.

Earlier, he said on Twitter that France’s IGPN police watchdog is investigating the allegations.

According to Le Parisien newspaper, based on the written record of the officers’ declarations the day after the arrest, Mr Zecler drew their attention because he was not wearing a mask – which is mandatory in Paris outdoors.

They said he seemed “nervous” and a “strong drug smell” was emanating from him, adding that he was getting “dangerous” toward them.

Mr Zecler’s lawyer said: “My client never committed any violence against the police.

“He did not even defend himself.”

French President Emmanuel Macron was “very shocked” by images purporting to show Mr Zecler being beaten by Paris police, BFM TV reported.

The Paris police force has already faced criticism this week after people posted videos on social media of police hitting demonstrators as they cleared a migrant camp in central Paris on Monday.

Mr Darmanin called the images “shocking” and said the officers who carried out the violence would be punished.

Hafida El-Ali, the lawyer representing Mr Zecler, said her client would be making a formal complaint against the police over the incident.

She told the Associated Press; “He asked them what they wanted, if they wanted to check his identity… They didn’t stop beating him, the video of the violence (inside the studio) lasts for 12 minutes.”

Two of France’s top football players, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, spoke out against police violence on their Twitter feeds.

“Unbearable video, inadmissible violence,” Mbappe tweeted.

Masked rights activists and journalists protest as the French parliament debates a draft law that would make it a crime in some circumstances to circulate an image of a police officer's face, in Nantes, France, November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
Image: Plans to make it a crime to circulate images of a police officer’s face have sparked nationwide protests

France’s government is trying to push through a law that would make it a crime to circulate images of police officers in certain circumstances.

Following protest by journalists’ organisations and opposition politicians, the prime minister’s office said on Thursday it will set up a commission, tasked with proposing a new version of the bill.

 Sky News

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