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Racism on French police Facebook page investigated

Police in Trappes last Saturday
Police in Trappes last Saturday AFP/Fred Dufour

French police are investigating claims that serving officers posted “violent and sometimes racist content” on a Facebook page. The comments followed last week’s rioting in the town of Trappes by residents angered by alleged police brutality towards a veiled Muslim woman and her husband.

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The police’s internal disciplinary investigators are looking into the Forum police-info.com Facebook page, an “unofficial” page that claims to be for serving police officers and their supporters.

If serving officers are found to have posted offensive content they will be disciplined, interior ministry spokesperson Pierre-Henry Brandet said Tuesday, adding that they would be “extremely prudent”.

The Facebook page could no longer be accessed on Tuesday.

Police unions insisted that there was no proof that officers were involved.

Copwatch, a website that claims to monitor police abuses, has published the names and photographs of several police officers it says are the authors of several of the comments.

Courts have ordered Copwatch to be closed on several occasions but it operates via a provider outside France.

The husband of the veiled woman stopped by police in Trappes last week has denied trying to strangle a police officer as prosecutors claim.

Mickaël, 20, told a local TV interviewer that the couple cooperated with the police until the point where he thought an officer might hit his wife, at which point he “interposed myself” without explaining how.

Both Mickaël and his wife are converts to Islam.

Islamophobic incidents and threats were 35 per cent higher in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period a year earlier, an unofficial watchdog says.

There were 108 incidents, including assaults and arson, reported to police between 1 January and 30 June 2013 and 84 threats, according to the Islamophobia Observatory.

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