French police watchdog to probe alleged beating of Black man

by Reuters
Thursday, 26 November 2020 14:18 GMT

FILE PHOTO: French gendarmes stand guard in front of the National Assembly in Paris as the French Parliament will vote on the proposed law that would make it a crime to circulate an image of a police officer's face in France, November 24, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

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A Black music producer said he was physically attacked and racially abused by police, in an incident captured on video

PARIS, Nov 26 (Reuters) - France's IGPN police watchdog is investigating allegations a Black music producer was physically attacked and racially abused during a police check, said French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Twitter on Thursday.

The incident was captured on closed circuit television and mobile phone footage which was circulating online.

"I have asked the head of the police force to provisionally suspend the police concerned," wrote Darmanin.

The alleged victim, who only gave his identity as Michel, told reporters on Thursday that he was jumped upon by police at his music studio in Paris' 17th arrondissement on Nov. 21.

He said he had been walking around nearby without a facemask - against French COVID health protocols - and upon seeing a police car, went into his music studio to avoid getting a fine.

However, the police followed him inside the studio and started to physically attack him and racially abuse him, he said.

"I want the IGPN to do their job," Michel told reporters.

Hafida El-Ali, the lawyer representing Michel, added that her client would be making a formal complaint against the police over the incident. Video footage of the alleged attack was first obtained by the LoopSider news organisation.

The Paris police force has already faced criticism this week after clashes broke out late on Monday as police cleared out a protest by migrants in the capital's Place de la Republique.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Geert de Clercq; editing by Christian Lowe)

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