Paris’ top prosecutor wants three police officers held over Black man’s beating

Paris’ top prosecutor on Sunday called for all four police investigated over the beating of a Black music producer to face charges and for three of them to be held in custody as the probe continues.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said the case over the beating of music producer Michel Zecler would now be handed to an investigating magistrate who would decide on charges and detention measures.

Three police suspected of involvement in the beating should remain in custody, he said, while a fourth, who arrived on the scene later and fired a tear gas canister, should be freed under conditions.

President Emmanuel Macron said the images of the beating of Zecler by police in Paris last weekend “shame us.”

The incident has magnified concerns about alleged systemic racism in the police force.

Commentators say that the images of the officers – first published by the Loopsider news site – may never have been made public if the contentious Article 24 of the security legislation was made law.

People hold a banner reading “enough violence and police crimes, disarm the police” as they take part in a demonstration, on November 26, 2020, in Toulouse, southern France. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP)People hold a banner reading “enough violence and police crimes, disarm the police” as they take part in a demonstration, on November 26, 2020, in Toulouse, southern France. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP)

The article would criminalize the publication of images of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.” It was passed by the National Assembly although it is awaiting Senate approval.

Violent clashes erupted in Paris on Saturday as protesters vented their anger against the security bill.

Some 46,000 people marched in the French capital and 133,000 in total nationwide in the protests on Sunday, the interior ministry said.

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