Police brutality video prompts investigation in France

French police
French police Getty Images/Jean-Marc Romain

French prosecutors have opened an investigation to look into a video posted online Sunday that captured a police officer beating a black woman with a baton and spraying tear gas point blank into her and another woman’s face.


The eight-minute video entitled “Shame on the French police” garnered nearly 700,000 views on YouTube as of midday Tuesday.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said that the incident has been referred to the national police oversight arm called the IGPN.

“We need the whole truth and full transparency…The police must be irreproachable, the vast majority of police officers carry out difficult and remarkable work,” said Valls.

The video was shot from the upper storey of a building in the Tours suburb of Joue-les-Tours and shows two officers trying to arrest a man and a woman after reportedly stopping them from driving around erratically at 7:00am, according to French paperLa Nouvelle Republique.

The paper said the driver of the car was drunk and refused to take an alcohol test, prompting a female passenger to intervene.

Quoting police sources, the woman allegedly bite one of the officers repeatedly.

In the video, the officer wrestles with the woman on the street and strikes her several times with a baton, including a blow to the face.

The policeman then hastily retrieves a can of tear gas from his car and sprays it in her face before chasing another female bystander and spraying it in her face after shouting to her to back off.

The woman is left lying on the ground until several more police vehicles arrive at the scene. Both the man and woman are then taken away in the police car.

While the video has sparked outrage, some viewers noted that the video did not show the complete altercation and that the police officers might have been defending themselves.



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