‘These people were supposed to protect me,’ said the victim, Michel Zecler
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, reportedly told the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, that he was “very shocked” by the footage of French police officers beating Michel Zecler, a Black music producer, in Paris.
Macron has yet to make a public statement about the incident, but according to CNN, Darmanin requested that all of the officers involved be suspended.
“These images are unspeakable, extremely shocking and as soon as I learned about them, and about what happened, I asked for the suspension of those police officers,” said Darmanin on Thursday night.
The original video was taken from a security camera and published on a website called Loopsider. It showed multiple officers savagely beating Zecler who had extensive injuries as a result of the attack.
“These people were supposed to protect me. I didn’t do anything to deserve that. I want these people punished by the law. Of course I was afraid … it’s lucky I have the videos to protect me. This shouldn’t happen,” said Zecler, according to the Guardian.
Zecler’s lawyer, Hafida El Ali, said the producer spent 48 hours in police custody based on false statements and said if not for the video, Zecler may be in prison.
Like Zecler, many in France have spoken out about police brutality in their country, but Macron has not necessarily responded in a way that makes people feel protected. This video comes after critics slammed Macron for his right-leaning statements and ideologies.
According to the New York Times, a bill that will place restrictions of the filming of police officers is currently moving through the French government. Critics say that this is a move to cover up police brutality and protect officers as opposed to citizens.
Macron has also supported a “crackdown on extremists,” after a French teacher was murdered by a Muslim Russian refugee, according to Al Jazeera.
The teacher had been accused of showing offensive imagery depicting the prophet Muhammad. Since the attack, Macron has been accused of adding fuel to France’s rising levels of Islamophobia.
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