Justice penalizes elected officials’ “slogans” condemning police violence on Île-Saint-Denis

The cancellation of the wish adopted by the City of Île-Saint-Denis against police violence has been confirmed (©AdobeStock)

The Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris again disavowed the municipality of L’Île-Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), confirming the cancellation of the “wish” entitled “Against police violence: no justice, no peace! » adopted by its municipal council on June 10, 2020.

Police sentenced after the arrest of a young man

This “wish” had been voted unanimously by elected officials, fifteen days after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis (United States): this African-American had been tackled to the ground by a police officer for more than eight minutes with one knee on the neck.

“At Île Saint-Denis, during confinement, young people had to suffer violent blows (…)”, also recalled the disputed wish. “We must remember the remarks made by two police officers against a young man arrested after crossing the small arm of the Seine: “He can’t swim, a bicot can’t swim! It’s flowing, you should have hung a cannonball on his foot.

This video was filmed by a resident of L’Île-Saint-Denis on April 26, 2020 during the arrest of a young 29-year-old Egyptian suspected of stealing equipment from a construction site. After its broadcast by journalist Taha Bouhafs, six police officers were sentenced in January 2022 by the Bobigny Criminal Court to six to twelve months in prison, for some firm.

“Offensive” and “defamatory” remarks according to the prefecture

In the meantime, for its part, the prefecture of Seine-Saint-Denis had considered that the terms of the “vow” of the municipal council of L’Île-Saint-Denis were “insulting” and “defamatory”; she had therefore asked the administrative court of Montreuil to cancel it. The administrative judges had agreed with him, in a judgment rendered on November 26, 2021.

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“No abuse in the use of freedom of expression can be blamed on the municipal council”, maintained the municipality of L’Île-Saint-Denis before the administrative court of appeal of Paris. “The deliberation does not undermine public order. »

Still, the general code of local authorities (CGCT) confines municipal councils to “regulate the affairs of the municipality” and to express wishes “on all objects of local interest”. In this context, the disputed wish “exceeds the powers of the municipal council”, considers the administrative court of appeal of Paris in a judgment dated March 3, 2023.

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The “militant slogans” of this deliberation, “the amalgams it operates”, its “excessive remarks” and “the use of terms suggesting generalized and unpunished violent and racist practices in the police” are indeed not to taste. Parisian judges. Finally, the “unambiguous and devoid of any nuance” of the wish convinced them to confirm its cancellation.

The deliberation of the Department of Seine-Saint-Denis also canceled

The same Paris administrative court of appeal also annulled, on the same March 3, 2023, the deliberation “relating to police violence and racism in the police” which had been adopted by the elected representatives of the departmental council of Seine-Saint- Denis the day after the wish of those of the municipal council of L’Île-Saint-Denis.

At first instance, the administrative court of Montreuil had however found nothing to complain about, this time. He had however examined the file of L’Île-Saint-Denis the same day as that of the Department of Seine-Saint-Denis.

But “the departmental council regulates (…) the affairs of the department in the areas of competence that the law attributes to it”, provides for the general code of local authorities. However in this case “it is common ground that public security is not an area of ​​​​competence that the law has attributed to the department”, recalls the administrative court of appeal of Paris.

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“Under these conditions, the departmental council of Seine-Saint-Denis was not competent to adopt the deliberation in dispute”, deduce the judges. It was therefore annulled, as was the judgment of the administrative court of Montreuil.

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