“We should never have acted like that”: a CRS captain inside a Burger King theater of beatings on demonstrators in Paris during act 3 of the “yellow vests”, was indicted in September, after seven others.
Jérôme P., aged 46 at the time of the facts, was indicted on September 17 for “willful violence by a person holding public authority” and placed under judicial control.
In addition to this episode, erected as a symbol of police violence, December 1, 2018 was one of the most eventful demonstrations of “yellow vests” in Paris with images of chaos, the sacking of the Arc de Triomphe, the theft of ‘an assault rifle in a police car, but also the knocking out of a demonstrator by a fire from a defense bullet launcher (LBD) of the police. In Puy-en-Velay, the prefecture had been set on fire.
In his interrogation, of which AFP has obtained elements, this police captain at the Republican Security Company 43 (CRS 43) describes an interminable and anxiety-provoking mission, which began at 5.30 a.m., with a first “theater of confrontation” from 7.30 a.m. , the Arc de Triomphe, already enveloped in tear gas.
Follows “a succession of assaults, of moments when we had to retreat. We retreated because we were going to be killed.”
“It was incredible,” he continues, recounting the pavement he receives in his stomach but from which his bulletproof vest protects him, his troops who have become “zombies” and “cripples”, some in tears, by force. fatigue and “outburst of violence”.
His day will end at 1:30 in the morning.
The investigating judge, she is seized of the violence within a Burger King a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, in the beautiful neighborhoods, documented by amateur videos and journalists.
– No “justified” blow –
Before the IGPN in April 2019, Jérôme P. said he was unable to recognize anyone on the videos of the events.
The investigation slips for a while. It was “not a lack of cooperation,” he swears during his questioning in September.
But since then, the identification of most of the protagonists of the violence has advanced: four CRS were indicted in June 2020, three others in May.
Jérôme P., who initially did not recognize himself on the videos, ended up assuming before the judge at least eight tonfa blasts and a kick to a protester. The images received “real treatment” by investigators to identify the perpetrators of the violence, he explains.
According to the IGPN, at least seven people, including demonstrators and a journalist, were beaten.
“As I see them now on the video, I do not find (the people in the restaurant) absolutely not hostile”, concedes Jérôme P. “Cold, I admit, we should never have acted like that”, cowardly he does.
Beyond his state of exhaustion, the captain of CRS calls into question “the command room”, repeatedly pointing to “strategic mismanagement of public order” and assassinating: “We should have at one point refuse orders “.
While a possible “looting” is mentioned on the police waves, who orders him to enter the Burger King? The commander of CRS 43, he assures us. With the mission of “evacuating the restaurant as quickly as possible”.
In a June 2020 investigation report, the IGPN estimated that the demonstrators “had taken refuge inside the establishment because of the massive presence of tear gas on the avenue”. The investigation ruled out any looting.
“In view of the positions of the victims, lying down or seated” and their “attitude” without “danger or threat”, “on all the blows of batons or kicks, none seemed justified, necessary or proportionate”, cut the fonts font.
“The indictment is not proof of guilt, it is the beginning of a procedure which is ongoing, it shows that the files of + yellow vests + are not forgotten, are treated on a daily basis both by the IGPN only by the judicial institution. All this should lead to a legal truth “, reacted the lawyer of this CRS and others implicated, Laurent-Franck Liénard.