Unlike the rest of France, the police force in Paris runs its own psychiatric unit in which suspects with possible mental health problems or people acting strangely in public can be detained for observation. Up to 2,000 people a year are sent there. Campaigners have long tried to get the establishment closed down, and the inspector general of prisons has himself condemned its blurred role between mental health care and public order. But both the head of the police in Paris and City Hall have so far succeeded in resisting attempts to shut it. Lousie Fessard reports.
On October 27th, 2005, two police officers chased three teenagers into an electricity sub-station in a Parisian suburb where two of them died after being electrocuted. Their deaths provoked major riots around Paris and across France. Nearly eight years later a French court has ruled that the two officers should stand trial, on charges of failing to provide assistance to persons in danger. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports on the complex background to this high-profile case.
A police officer has been filmed striking a woman with his baton and spraying her and another person in the face with tear gas. The interior minister has announced an inquiry, while police unions have played down the affair. They say the officer had been bitten and that events that took place before the filming of the video, which was posted on YouTube, support his actions. But Mediapart has now obtained a second video showing what had occurred earlier and which raises doubts about the police version of the incident. Louise Fessard reports.
On the face of it, the incident looked like yet another regrettable but sadly all-too common attack on a bus company employee. But in the middle of the assault on the 35-year-old in central Paris, one of the two assailants pulled out his warrant card and told onlookers he was a police officer. The police complaints authority is now investigating. However, as Louise Fessard reports, despite the attack being captured on video surveillance cameras and the fact that the attackers are readily identifiable, no arrests have yet been made.
A decision to drop legal proceedings against two policemen accused of failing to attempt to prevent the fatal electrocution near Paris of two teenage boys they were trying to arrest – an incident which sparked nationwide riots – was overturned on Wednesday by France’s highest appeals court. The landmark ruling, seven years after the events, now opens up the path for a trial of the officers in what is a politically and socially highly-charged case, regarded by many as symbolic of the critical tensions between police and young populations in France’s suburban sink estate zones. Michel Deléan reports.