The Bobigny court (Seine-Saint-Denis) sentenced this Thursday, January 6, six police officers to sentences ranging from six to twelve months in prison, including six months closed for some, for violence and racist insults during the arrest from an Egyptian in April 2020.
The policeman, who had described the man arrested as a “bicot” unable to swim, was sentenced to six months in prison.
Four of his colleagues were sentenced to twelve months, six of which were fixed.
The Bobigny public prosecutor’s office did not, however, retain violence in its requisitions, only insults, and asked for sentences lower than requisitions.
Racist comments filmed
The facts date back to the end of April 2020. On a video broadcast on Sunday, April 26 in the afternoon on the Twitter account of journalist Taha Bouhafs, police officers are filmed after a stormy arrest, during which racist comments are pronounced.
A scene considered “freezing” by the journalist, who explains that the arrest in question took place in L’Île-Saint-Denis (93), around 2 am, on the night of Saturday 25 to Sunday 26 April.
“A bicot like that, it does not swim”, can we hear on this sequence. “Ahah, it’s leaking, you should have hung a ball on his foot,” replied another, suggesting that the agents took the suspect out of the water of the nearby Seine.
In Ile-Saint-Denis very early this morning (1h43), during an arrest of the police officers recover a man who threw himself in the Seine to flee from them, I let you discover the rest: pic.twitter.com/vcqepo7NNZ
— Taha Bouhafs (@T_Bouhafs) April 26, 2020
An “unacceptable” video according to Eric Coquerel
At the time, the deputy LFI of Seine-Saint-Denis Eric Coquerel had denounced a video described as “unacceptable”. “I don’t know what the latter did, I do know, however, that on October 17, 1961, the bodies of Algerians drowned by the police were found on these same banks. To hear today such racist remarks and behavior on the part of police officers is a shame and a great concern, ”he lambasted.
“With the mayor of Île-Saint-Denis Mohammed Gnabally, we are in contact with the authorities to find out more about these reprehensible facts,” he then said in a statement. After the indignation of social networks, the IGPN, the police force, had been seized of the case.
“A police officer has a duty to set an example”, argued the Bobigny prosecutor (93) Loïc Pageot, at the opening of the trial in early November. “’Bicot’ has a special connotation even sixty years after the fact. When you fish someone out, these words keep all their meaning, ”he underlined, recalling in turn the violent repression of Algerian demonstrators on October 17, 1961 in Paris.
In his defense, the official who used the term “bicot” had assured that it was “a joke in bad taste”. “I needed to decompress and make the gallery laugh,” apologized the 26-year-old policeman, from the night staff of the Territorial Directorate of Public Security of Hauts-de-Seine, who said “regret this joke”.