Almost nine minutes record was the first to publish the Loopsider server. An abridged version was then sent out by news agencies, including the AP. The footage shows first how the police use touches and grabs against the black man, later punches and kicks, even though they are outnumbered and the man is clearly not threatening them.
The attacked Michel Zecler claims that he walked down the street without a veil on Saturday, which contradicts the current anti-epidemic regulations of the French government. He saw a police car and, in an effort to avoid a fine, quickly entered his nearby studio. According to him, the police then followed him, which they were not authorized to do, and began to beat and racistly insult him.
Police claim that the man resisted arrest, actively resisted and struck them. But the camera footage does not prove it.
Shocking, Macron said
Police were first suspended after the video was released on Thursday, and were detained on Friday. The General Inspectorate of State Police (IGPN) is investigating them on suspicion of violence and lying in the official record of the incident.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the footage of the skirmish “very shocking” in a first response to the incident on Friday. On Thursday, he asked Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin to impose sentences on police officers. Darmanin said on Thursday night that he would demand the dismissal of police officers if their guilt is proven. He also accused them of “soiling their uniforms”.
Controversial law on the police
The incident provoked a stormy public response in France. This was exacerbated by the fact that on Tuesday, deputies approved in the first reading a draft of a controversial law, which would allow to punish those who “maliciously” publish pictures or videos of members of the armed forces. Violation of the law would result in a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (1.2 million crowns).
Part of the public, journalists and human rights activists oppose the bill. In response to public complaints, Prime Minister Jean Castex has pledged to set up an independent commission to propose a new version of the legislation. Macron has not yet commented publicly on the law, which he explains by maintaining a separation of legislative and executive power.
Police violence against minorities is a hot topic in and around Paris, as demonstrated this summer, when a US protest movement resonated strongly in response to a harsh crackdown by a black police officer, George Floyd, in Minneapolis.