France: With rubber bullets and tear gas on the beat

"I'm suffocating" - seven Times Cédric Chouviat is supposed to have said these words to the police officers who had him pressed in the context of a road cont

France: With rubber bullets and tear gas on the beat

"I'm suffocating" - seven Times Cédric Chouviat is supposed to have said these words to the police officers who had him pressed in the context of a road control on the ground. The result is a evaluation of sound and video recordings performed by experts of the French national police. Cédric Chouviat, 42, was suffocated in January after a police control at the foot of the Eiffel tower in Paris. According to the autopsy he died as the result of a laryngeal fracture. On video recordings is to see how Chouviat discussed in the control of several officials. The police officers had pulled the delivery driver on his scooter, because he is said to have served during the journey his mobile phone. The control escalates. At the end is to see how Chouviat of a number of officials on the ground.

"France is not the USA. But France is on the way, to be such as the United States," said William Bourdon, one of the lawyers of Chouviats members in a statement to the press this week. The family accuses the police officers involved "murder“. She calls for their immediate suspension. Against officials under investigation for negligent homicide run. A lawyer of two of the police officers said, Chouviats words were not heard because of the noise of the main roads to.

The case is reminiscent of the Afro-American George Floyd, who was killed in late may during a police control in the U.S. state of Minnesota. He, too, had said before his death, repeatedly, "I can't breathe" - I can't breathe. Also there are Videos. In the United States and in many Parts of the world people are demonstrating since then, against police violence and racism. In France, too, have gone in the past few weeks, tens of thousands on the streets. They demand justice for Cédric Chouviat, but also for other victims of excessive police violence in France.

demonstrators lose their eyesight through "flash balls"

Also, Adama Traoré has become the Symbol of the protests. The 24-Year-old died in the custody of 2016 in the police, his sister, Assa calls for an investigation of the circumstances under which your brother was killed. Several medical reports have so far come to different conclusions. There are findings, according to which Traoré died of health problems, and heart failure. A different opinion comes to the conclusion that the death of the Black with the police methods during the arrest together.

police violence is not only since the "Black Lives Matter"demonstrations in France. In the yellow West-protests, the grievances advanced in the focus of the Public. The use of so-called "flash balls" had the protesters suffered severe injuries to the eye Videos of the incident circulating on the network. Evaluations of journalists pointed out that until the end of January 2019, many protesters have lost an eye or your eyesight. The newspaper "Liberation" was of 14 cases, the investigative Journalist David Dufrense was one of 25 people who lost their eyes light - by rubber bullets and shrapnel from tear gas grenades that the police used during clashes with escalating demonstrations.

The number of disciplinary proceedings for excessive use of police violence in France in the Wake of the yellow West protests in the year 2019 to more than 40 percent compared to the previous year increased. Judgments against police officers, however, there were only a few.

Creeping militarization of the police

France is not moved on the way to US-American conditions, as Chouviat lawyer Bourdon argues, the social scientist Fabien Jobard, research Director of the French research organization Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS). The Numbers of deaths showed alone in the case of police operations, which would have in the United States to several other dimensions. Nevertheless, there is the Problem of police violence since at least 30 years in France, says Jobard, the researches on the topic of police violence.

The reasons for this are complex. A role of powerful police unions play according to the scientists in France, which were in extreme competition with each other, and the domination is fought. According to the Motto: Who uses the streets harder, emerged as the winner.

another reason Jobard sees the militarisation also normal police forces in France. "The patrol carried out by police forces, which are militarised and heavily armed. With weapons, such as, for example, hard rubber arms that occur in Germany only in special operations command, for example, in the context of hostage-taking." Hard police officers who carry out regular road checks and in comparison to Germany, much more likely to identity findings, normal controls significantly more likely to escalate to armed.

Disadvantaged young people to feel as second-class citizens

Such an identity findings, especially of young men from a disadvantaged background and with migration background to offer the French researchers, according to a lot of Potential for escalating violence. "The disadvantaged young people have the impression to be as second-class citizens, perceived, and be controlled much more common than in other European countries."

The excessive militarization of the French police, in turn, has to do with the riots in the Paris suburbs since the mid-1990s. As the police have found out that it was, for many, the same time unrest in the country in the form of the government. Lack of money had been invested in more police forces, but in sharper equipment. "As you put it: Less police officers in the everyday life in the strip services, this but more aggressively," said Jobard.

Even the UN are calling for investigation of

And the French colonial history plays in the militarization of the police a role. In a guest post for the left-leaning weekly newspaper "The Friday", writes the French social scientist and Anti-militarism activist Mathieu Rigouste: "throughout the colonial period, police have arrested officials and employees of their experiences, for example, from Algeria to take home, and the work of the police in working-class districts and in the suppression of revolts on the French nuclear country." The arrest and Strangulation, which would have killed Traoré or Chouviat, be a consistent result of this long not dealt with history, writes Rigouste.

In March 2019, urged the UN human rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, the French government finally, to investigate all cases of "excessive use of force". The French government rejected all allegations of excessive use of force by police officers a month later. "Do not speak of 'Repression' or 'police violence' - such words are not in a state of law is unacceptable,“ said President Emmanuel Macron.

the French government wants "concrete proposals" to improve

it was Only in the Wake of the protests in the past weeks, the government rowed back - at least partially. France's interior Minister Christophe Castaner was last a "Zero tolerance" Slogan against racism and police violence. He said he had heard "the Outcry" against police violence and promised that the officials should be systematically suspended from duty, if there is a "proven suspicion" against them. Castaner also announced to ban the controversial chokehold used by police officers and in the training taught. After massive protests by the police, he took the ban but back. Macron himself had commented on the criticism concerning police operations with the words, there were images that did not showed that to be acceptable, and that he expected Castaner "very specific proposals" to improve "the professional ethics of police officers".

That "concrete proposals" will solve the principle problem within the French police, believes Jobard. "I think the problems are so deep in the police-rooted that you need to certainly not less than a Generation to get to the Problem, in principle, in the handle. This is a whole police structure, police culture."

author: Rachel Klein

*The post "France: With rubber bullets and tear gas on the beat" is published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 28 June 2020, 10:27

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