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A French police officer guards the National Assembly
Image: Gonzalo Fuentes/REUTERS

Paris police suspended over beating of Black man

November 26, 2020

Three French police officers have been suspended after footage emerged that allegedly shows them attacking an unidentified Black man. The interior minister says the police watchdog will investigate the incident.


France's police watchdog is investigating allegations that a Black music producer was physically attacked and racially abused during a police check, an official said on Thursday.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter that he had asked the head of the police force to provisionally suspend the members of the police force involved.

"I want disciplinary proceedings to go ahead as soon as possible," he wrote.

The incident was captured on closed circuit television and mobile phone footage and allegedly showed police using tear gas against the victim without apparent reason.

The music producer, Michel, was walking in Paris without wearing a face mask, French media reported, when he spotted a police car. Wishing to avoid a fine for not wearing a mask, he ducked into his music studio.

Read more: France grapples with racial injustice and police violence

According to the video footage taken by neighbors and published on the French website Loopsider, three officers followed Michel into the studio where they attacked him with truncheons and punched him repeatedly, yelling racist epithets at him.

They then allegedly returned with back up to thrown a tear gas canister in the studio, before holding Michel for 48 hours in custody.

Police reform in the US

France looks to ban filming police

The incident comes as French President Emmanuel Macron's government is pushing a new bill that would restrict the ability to film police. The bill has prompted protests from civil liberties groups and journalists, who say it would allow police brutality to go undiscovered.

The bill must still be approved by the Senate. Earlier in the week, thousands protested against the proposed legislation.

The head of advocacy group Reporters Without Borders wrote on Twitter that he had met with the French Prime Minister Jean Castex to discuss the legislation following the attack. The prime minister agreed to set up a commission to examine the law.

This is the second alleged incidence of police violence in Paris this week, after the government ordered an internal investigation on Tuesday when footage emerged of police officers tossing migrants out of tents and intentionally tripping one up.

New French bill sparks outrage

ed/jlw (AP, Reuters)

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