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Macron 'shocked' at beating of black man by Paris police officers

Socialapps.Tech 24 November 26, 2020
image captionMusic producer Michel Zecler spoke to reporters outside the National Police General Inspectorate in Paris

President Emmanuel Macron is "very shocked" at footage of three police officers beating up a black music producer in Paris, French media report.

Mr Macron has not publicly commented about the incident, but has discussed the issue - and those involved - with Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

The three officers identified in the video beating Michel Zecler have been suspended and are under investigation.

The incident on Saturday has led to fresh scrutiny of the security forces.

Stars of the French World Cup football team are among a number of public figures who have spoken of their anger after the footage captured in the French capital was made public.

On Friday, French media reported that a presidential official had described Mr Macron as being visibly upset by the incident ahead of talks with Mr Darmanin.

Mr Darmanin earlier told French television that he would press for the officers' dismissal, saying they had "soiled the uniform of the republic".

The three officers are under investigation.

On Thursday, French football star Kylian Mbappé, who is black, joined national teammates and fellow athletes in condemning the latest incident.

"Unbearable video, unacceptable violence. Say no to racism," he wrote on Twitter next to a picture of the bloodied face of the injured producer.

The security camera video was published on Thursday by the online news site Loopsider. It shows three officers kicking, punching and using their truncheons on the man after he entered his studio. Loopsider said he had initially been stopped for not wearing a mask.

Mr Zecler said he was also subjected to racist abuse during the five minute beating.

He was detained and charged with violence and resisting arrest, but prosecutors threw the charges out and instead opened an investigation against the officers.

As he arrived at police headquarters on Thursday with his lawyer to file a complaint, Mr Zecler told reporters: "People who should have been protecting me attacked me. I did nothing to deserve this. I just want these three people to be punished according to the law."

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she was "profoundly shocked" by the "intolerable act".

Earlier this week, Mr Darmanin also ordered police to provide a full report after they violently dismantled a makeshift migrant camp in the capital, clashing with migrants and activists.

He tweeted that some of the scenes were "shocking".

media captionPolice tipped some migrants out of their flimsy tents

Meanwhile, the French government is pressing ahead with its controversial security bill, which opponents say could undermine the media's ability to scrutinise police behaviour.

Article 24 of the bill makes it a criminal offence to post images of police or soldiers on social media which are deemed to target them as individuals.

Critics of the legislation say that without such images, none of the incidents which took place over the past week would have come to light.

The government argues that the new bill does not jeopardise the rights of the media and ordinary citizens to report police abuses.

But in the face of criticism the government added an amendment, specifying that Article 24 "will only target the dissemination of images clearly aimed at harming a police officer's or soldier's physical or psychological integrity".

People found guilty could be punished by a year in prison or a fine of up to €45,000 (£40,000).


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