Crime & Justice

French police charged over beating up black music producer

Paris, 30 November (efe-epa) – Four French police officers who made the violent arrest of a black music producer in Paris were charged early Monday morning and two of them imprisoned over the incident.

 Three of the officers, including the two arrested, were charged with wilful violence by a person holding public authority, the use of racist language, falsifying police records, violation of a private home and intentional damage to a private home.

 The fourth, suspected of throwing a tear gas grenade during the arrest, was held responsible for wilful violence and degradation of property and was released under judicial control.

The Prosecutor’s Office had requested the provisional arrest of the first three, but the judge finally decided to jail two of them and put the other two on conditional release.

The events took place on 21 November and have led to a political and social crisis in France.

Michel Zecler, a producer from Black Gold Studios, crossed paths with a police car on the way to his Parisian studio. He entered the building quickly to avoid being fined because he was not wearing a mask.

Footage from video surveillance cameras on his premises and others taken by neighbours shows how the first three officers forced their way into his studio to fine and beat him.

Paris prosecutor, Remy Heitz, told the media on Sunday that the officers admitted to beating Mr Zecler but that they did so out of fear because he was resisting arrest.

The producer was initially detained and charged with violence and resisting arrest, but video footage of the ordeal helped prosecutors to throw out the charges and instead open an investigation against the officers.

The video exacerbated public anger, especially at a time when a new bill, passed this week on first reading by the National Assembly, wants to limit the dissemination of footage and images of police activity.

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