Friday, January 21

Up to six months closed for police officers for racist insults and violence

Six police officers were sentenced Thursday in Bobigny to terms ranging from six to twelve months in prison, some of which were six months closed, for violence and racist insults during the arrest of an Egyptian in April 2020.

The policeman, who had declared “a bicot like that, it does not swim” against the young man arrested after having thrown himself in the Seine, was sentenced to six months suspended prison sentence. Four of his colleagues were sentenced to twelve months, including six months fixed and a ban on practice for twelve months. A sixth official was sentenced to a 12-month suspended prison sentence.

The sentences pronounced by the court of Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis) against these police officers of the Territorial Directorate of Public Security of Hauts-de-Seine were heavier than the requisitions.

The prosecution had not retained violence in its requisitions, only insults, and demanded a single sentence.

But the court agreed to join the case on the facts of “racist insults” to the direct citations of the civil party for the facts of “violence”, relying in particular on a soundtrack.

“I am happy, justice has been done. I have been wronged, attacked. I am happy with this decision,” said Samir Elgendy, the victim, after deliberation.

On April 26, 2020 at around 1:30 a.m., police officers arrested the 29-year-old worker in Île-Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), suspected of theft of equipment on a construction site and who had tried, according to reports police sources, to flee by jumping into the Seine.

On the facts of theft, the case was dismissed.

After taking the young man out of the river, one of the police officers said: “A bicot like that does not swim”, according to a video captured by a local resident and posted by journalist Taha Bouhafs on social networks.

“Ha! Ha! It’s leaking, you should have hung a ball on its foot”, we could also hear.

Then during his transfer to the police station, the Egyptian national had received numerous blows in the van, according to his statements, supported by the words captured in the police van.

For these facts, a police officer was sentenced to twelve months suspended prison sentence for “not preventing violence”.

– “Singular judgment” –

The lawyer for the civil party, Me Arié Alimi, said he was “surprised” by this decision. “We are not used to police violence and racism in the police to such clear sentences, obvious with relatively heavy penalties.”

For Me Alimi, “justice is starting to say to itself that it is no longer possible and is starting to set the limits. It is a singular judgment, symbolic but which will mark the fight on violence and racism in the police”.

The four anti-racist associations (Licra, MRAP, LDH, SOS Racisme) which had brought civil proceedings were declared admissible and obtained a symbolic euro in damages.

These sentences “must also sound for the State as the need for awareness,” said SOS Racisme, in a press release. “It is the responsibility of the State to stop turning a blind eye to practices condemned here simply because of the existence of a video”, deplores the association.

The defense for its part “contested this decision”. “The court did not take into account either the facts that we had brought to its attention or the legal arguments that we had developed”, regretted Me Laurent-Franck Lienard, the lawyer for the main defendant.

Five of the six convicted police officers decided to appeal the judgment.

The police official who used the term “bicot” had pleaded “the joke in bad taste” during his trial in November and the “need to decompress and make the gallery laugh,” he said.

In this case which had sparked indignation, two police officers were sanctioned administratively in October with five days of exclusion.

The Director General of the National Police, Frédéric Veaux, went beyond the recommendations of the disciplinary council of the Prefecture of Police, which had proposed three days of exclusion.

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