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A FRENCH judge placed four police officers under criminal investigation today after video footage revealed a black music producer was attacked in his studio in Paris.
White officers were caught on camera attacking Michel Zecler last week, causing outrage in Paris amid already heightened tensions over police violence.
The four suspects are facing charges of “intentional violence by a person holding authority.”
Prosecutors urged that three of the officers should be remanded in custody to stop any attempts to co-ordinate their stories, but the judge said only two would remain in detention.
Mr Zecler was kicked and punched for several minutes by three officers at his studio on November 21 following a dispute over whether the 41-year-old had been wearing a face mask or not. A fourth officer threw a tear gas canister into the building, where a recording was taking place.
Mr Zecler needed stitches after the attack, during which he said he was also racially abused.
All four officers are also accused of forgery over the police report filed after the incident, which claimed that Mr Zecler had been exuding a strong smell of cannabis and that he had resisted a search.
Prosecutors said the officers had admitted that the violence against Mr Zecler was unjustified but they had acted out of panic after he resisted them.
“I was lucky enough to have videos that protect me,” Mr Zecler said in a statement following the attack.
It comes amid protests against a draft security Bill that would restrict the right to film police. Campaigners have raised concerns that it will make it difficult to document police brutality.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of people marched in the capital to reject the measure, including families and friends of people killed by police.
Amal Bentounsi, whose brother Amine was shot in the back and killed by a police officer in 2012, launched a phone app in March called Emergency-Police Violence to record abuses and bring cases to court. The app has been downloaded more than 50,000 times.
“Some police officers already have a sense of impunity,” she told the AP news agency. “The only solution now is to make videos.
“If we want to improve public confidence in the police, it does not go through hiding the truth.”
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