French govt under pressure | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 28, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:15 AM, November 28, 2020

POLICE BEATING OF BLACK MUSIC PRODUCER

French govt under pressure

Macron ‘very shocked’; 4 cops suspended

Pressure on the French government and police leadership intensified yesterday after the police beating of a black music producer in Paris sparked outrage across the spectrum, from top politicians to football stars.

Images published by the Loopsider website show how music producer Michel Zecler was repeatedly beaten by police for several minutes and subjected to racial abuse as he tried to enter his music studio last Saturday evening.

The incident was condemned by football World Cup winners Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.

A presidential official said yesterday that President Emmanuel Macron, too, was "very shocked" by the images.

The incident raised questions over the future of Paris police chief Didier Lallement, already in the spotlight after the forced removal of a migrant camp in Paris earlier in the week which has been widely condemned.

It also put the government on the backfoot as it tries to push through controversial new security legislation that would restrict the right of the media to publish the faces of police agents.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is in charge of the police forces, told French television that the officers "had soiled the uniform of the republic" and that he would press for their dismissal.

Police sources said four officers had been suspended.

The four, all men, have been summoned for questioning at France's National Police Inspectorate General (IGPN) which has launched an investigation into use of violence and making a false statement, a source close to the investigation said.

Zecler was initially himself detained for causing violence, but prosecutors threw out that probe and instead began investigating the police themselves.

Macron on Thursday held talks with Darmanin to call for tough punishments for those involved in the beating, a government source added.

"Nausea," said the front page headline in the leftist Liberation daily over a close-up picture of Zecler's swollen and bloodied face.

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