French police union calls for charges against Black man whose beating by police sparked outcry

PARIS (Reuters) – A police union on Thursday urged prosecutors to charge a Black music producer with resisting arrest, six days after President Emmanuel Macron said the arrest and beating of the man, which was caught on film, was unacceptable and shameful for France.

FILE PHOTO: People with banners and posters attend a demonstration against the “Global Security Bill’ that rights groups say would make it a crime to circulate an image of a police officer’s face and would infringe journalists’ freedom in France, in Paris, November 28, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

The beating of Michel Zecler by police officers inside his music studio was captured on closed circuit television and mobile phone footage. It was circulated widely online and sparked new criticism over police violence in France.

The French police union asked for Zecler to be charged with resisting his arrest on Nov. 21.

“The lack of criminal charge for the acts of rebellion that Mr Zecler perpetrated leads to a serious threat to public order”, France Police-Policiers en colere (Angry French Police Officers) trade union said.

Prosecutors last week launched a probe into the police action against Zecler and the police watchdog is also investigating.

Two police officers have been held in custody and two others are still being investigated, French media reported on Monday.

The Paris prosecutors’ head Remy Heitz said on Sunday charges against the officers would include the use of racist language and intentional violence with weapons.

Zecler has said police jumped on him at his music studio in Paris’ 17th arrondissement.

He added he had been walking nearby without a mask, a violation of French health protocols to curb the coronavirus, and upon seeing a police car, went into his music studio to avoid being fined.

However, the police followed him inside and started to physically attack him and racially abuse him, he added.

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