Amid a mounting debate over accusations of systemic racism within France’s police force, this joint investigation by Mediapart and ARTE Radio reveals the vile exchanges between police officers on a WhatsApp chat group, in which they talk of “enemies of the white race” and of “niggers”, describe women as “whores”, Jews as “sons of bitches” who “govern the country”, and gay men as “poofs”. Camille Polloni reports on a case that came to light only due to the courage of one of their black colleagues and how, five months after his formal complaint, the men were still in their posts.
Protests around France continued on Thursday over alleged racist violence by police, prompted by a campaign by the family of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old man of Malian origin, for a full investigation into his death in police custody allegedly from asphyxiation, and the outrage over the death in the US of George Floyd, 46, an Afro-American who was suffocated by a police officer during his arrest in Minneapolis.
The French government's spokeswoman called for calm on Wednesday after violent scenes at a demonstration by around 20,000 people on Tuesday evening against what they claim is a cover-up over the 2016 death of Adama Traoré, 24, who suffocated while he was pinned down by gendarmes during his arrest in July 2016, a case which the protesters likened to the killing in the US of George Floyd.
Four Iranian nationals were presented before French magistrates on Monday accused of impersonating police officers to search victims on the pretext of checking their movements under the current lockdown measures in France, when they allegedly stole cash and valuables estimated to be worth around 25,000 euros.
Since the start of the coronavirus lockdown on March 17th in France drones have become an increasingly familiar sight above public areas in France. They have been used by the authorities to fly over towns and cites, coastal areas and parks. But no one is sure if these drones are filming people and, if so, whether the images are being stored or cross-checked with police files. As Clément Le Foll and Clément Pouré report, civil liberties groups are increasingly worried about the situation.
French interior minister Christophe Castaner has announced that police are to no longer use an highly explosive tear gas grenade until now used in crowd-control situations, notably during the past 12 months of rolling 'yellow vest' demonstrations over social grievances, and which has been one of the arsenal of police weapons that have left many people with serious injuries and amputations.
Prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation after videos filmed during a 'Yellow Vest' anti-government protest in the French capital on January 18th showed a man with a bloodied head being held down on his back by a helmeted officer, who then strikes him hard in the face.
French media reports citing official sources said five people, including an imam, have been detained in connection with the murders of four staff at Paris police headquarters on October 3rd during a stabbing rampage by an IT worker at the site, Mickaël Harpon, which is being investigated by anti-terrorism police.
Calling on France to mobilise against 'underground Islamism', President Emmanuel Macron led a ceremony on Tuesday in homage to four staff who were stabbed to death at Paris police headquarters last Thursday by one of their colleagues in an attack which investigators believe was motivated by his allegiance with Islamist extremists.
Paris prosecution services have opened an investigation into reported jibes aimed at police by anti-government ‘yellow vest’ protestors in Paris on Saturday in which they allegedly shouted ‘kill yourselves’ in a reference to a police union revelation last week that 28 officers have committed suicide since January 1st.
by La rédaction de Mediapart
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