French music producer’s beating sparks new anger over police violence

Paris: France's interior minister on Thursday ordered the suspension of several police who beat up a music producer in central Paris after images posted on social media sparked new anger over the conduct of the security forces.

The images published by the online news site Loopsider showed the music producer, identified only as Michel, being repeatedly beaten as he tried to enter a music studio in the 17th district of Paris.

The incident comes after a string of high-profile probes into police violence and as concern grows over new legislation that would restrict the right of the press to publish images of the faces of police.

The man was himself initially arrested for violence and failure to obey the police. But prosecutors threw out the probe and instead opened an investigation against the police officers themselves for committing violence while in a position of authority.

"I am asking the chief of (Paris) police to suspend on an interim basis the police officers concerned," Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter.

The man's lawyer, Hafida El Ali, told AFP that his client had been detained for 48 hours on the basis of "lies by the police who had outrageously aggressed him".

Loopsider, which has exposed several episodes of police brutality in recent months, said that the images "had to be seen to understand the full extent of the problem". -

Loopsider said Michel had initially been stopped for not wearing a mask and subjected to racial abuse by the police. - AFP

There has already been virulent criticism of the police this week after late Monday they used tear gas to remove migrants from a camp set up in central Paris.

Prosecutors have opened probes into the use of violence against both a journalist and a migrant in that incident.

The lower house of parliament Tuesday evening gave initial approval to a security bill which would restrict the publication of photos or videos of police officers' faces, although it still faces further legislative hurdles.

Media unions say it could give police a green light to prevent journalists from doing their work and potentially documenting abuses. - AFP