Sunday, January 16

Loïc Pageot, the magistrate who tracks down the “ripoux” police officers of Seine-Saint-Denis

In his viewfinder, the “ripoux” of the police. Loïc Pageot, deputy prosecutor of Bobigny, is the safeguard of the police in Seine-Saint-Denis. Neither pro nor anti-cop, the magistrate tracks down “material evidence”, the only one that is valid in cases where it is word against word.

False report, violent police officers, racist remarks, drug disappeared, until committing criminal acts: Loïc Pageot has been judging for 12 years by the court of Bobigny those who, he says, “discredit” the function.

In the second jurisdiction of France, he is the only magistrate in charge of cases involving the police officers of Seine-Saint-Denis. “I am not under pressure”, assures this native Vendée, 64 years old, who “does not deal with everyday delinquency” and thus is “not in contact with the police”.

On his perfectly tidy desk stand piles of multicolored files, to which are added those which overflow the cupboards. It follows on average “300-400 cases” which lead to “about fifty prosecutions”.

For the vast majority, it is “classification 21”, – from the name of the computer code for lack of proof – when it considers that the offense is insufficiently characterized.

“I put on the same table the testimonies”, underlines the prosecutor: “an alleged victim who has his version and the police officer who does not have the same one, often supported by his colleagues”. “We do not condemn with the benefit of the doubt”, he insists, sometimes conceding to classify without follow-up with regret.

In cases of police violence, “90% of convictions are made because a video has been shot”, explains the magistrate.

– The proof by the image –

He cites the example of a police officer who punched a disabled high school student twice during a check in 2016 in Les Lilas. The case had been closed, before an amateur video emerged.

Other images, those of an Egyptian national adrift in the Seine being insulted by a police officer: “a bicot like that, it does not swim”. At the hearing, the magistrate praised the “citizen act” of the videographer. In this case, six police officers were sentenced Thursday to terms of up to six months in prison.

His heaviest requisitions: three years in prison including eighteen months closed against “rascals” of the BAC of Stains. Five police officers suspected of having racketed traffickers to resell their merchandise. Decision expected on February 3.

If he is sorry, the magistrate is no longer surprised by these practices in the poorest department of France, undermined by drug trafficking where “young officials start without hierarchy, with easy money , the temptation is easy “.

Among its media files, that of the security and intervention company (CSI 93) targeted by fifteen investigations for acts of theft, violence, drug possession and false reports.

If there is an assize trial that marked the magistrate, it is that of a Malian mother. With other inhabitants of her city, she contested the arrest of her son – mistakenly mistaken for a fugitive. The tone rose, the police fired a de-encircling grenade. The mother of the family was taken aback.

For the one who represented the prosecution, there was “a total slippage of the police”, finally acquitted on appeal for “self-defense”.

“What image do we give to this perfectly integrated foreign family?” He asks himself still today.

– “Slaughter justice” –

In the courtrooms, Loïc Pageot, bald head, precise verb, affable character, is unanimous against him.

“He talks a lot but does not do much in terms of police violence”, regrets Me Arié Alimi, regularly alongside the victims. “His requisitions are harsh without taking the context into account,” Judge on the contrary Erwan Guermeur, departmental secretary SGP Unit.

“All the names of birds slip over him, his weapon is based on the code of criminal procedure”, confides Fabienne Klein-Donati, ex-prosecutor of Bobigny who worked seven years at his side. She praises “a meticulous colleague, measured in his decisions, who is never in the invective”.

A prosecutor for a long time, familiar with the courts of Ile-de-France, he discovered, when he landed in Bobigny in 2010, “a jurisdiction where we spend our time driving nails that stand out”.

Like the department, “the court lacks resources”, “consideration”, is “behind its German or Spanish counterparts”, describes the one who is also a member of the National Consultative Commission for Human Rights.

Young magistrates, especially women, leave the ship after three years “worn out” by “endless days, slaughter justice” where it “is not easy to provide quality justice,” it bluntly.

After “45 years in justice”, the magistrate gives an appointment at the end of “December 2022 or beginning of January 2023” for his last major assize trial. He will represent the prosecution in Theo case, named after the young black man of 22 years, disabled for life after being injured in the anus by the baton of a police officer.

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