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JUSTICE

French police suspended after beating of black man is caught on film

A French music producer, identified only as Michel, talks to the media outside the Paris offices of the IGPN police police watchdog.
A French music producer, identified only as Michel, talks to the media outside the Paris offices of the IGPN police police watchdog. AFP - AURORE MESENGE

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has ordered the suspension of several police officers who were filmed beating up a black music producer.

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Footage posted by the online news site Loopsider shows the man, identified only as Michel, being repeatedly beaten as he tried to enter a music studio in Paris’s 17th arrondissement.

The incident comes as concern grows over a new French bill that would criminalise the publishing images of police "with intent to harm".

The legislation, which the government is pushing through parliament, has prompted protests from civil liberties groups and journalists.

    In a Twitter post, Darmanin said the IGPN police watchdog was investigating the alleged assault, which took place on Saturday as the man was being arrested.

    Michel told reporters that he had been walking along without a face mask, which is against health regulations. and went into his music studio after spotting the police car.

    He said the police then followed him inside the studio, where he was physically and racially attacked.

    Michel's lawyer, Hafida El Ali, said: “He asked them what they wanted, if they wanted to check his identity... They didn't stop beating him, the video of the violence lasts for 12 minutes.”

    El Ali said that nine others who were recording music in the studio basement were also beaten.

    Michel told Associated Press that he felt assured “now that the truth is out”. 

    “I want to understand why I have been assaulted by people who were wearing a police uniform. I want justice, because I believe in the justice of my country," he said.

    France has recently seen a spate of high-profile probes into police violence.

    (with wires)

     

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