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Ministry seeks ban on police watchdog site

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Matthew Warren - [email protected]
Ministry seeks ban on police watchdog site

A website set up by a group claiming to want to expose violent and racist police officers has been threatened with closure.

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The site, Copwatch, publishes photos and videos of officers it claims are engaging in inappropriate behaviour or expressing racist views. The policemen concerned can be clearly identified in the pictures.

Images shown on the site include officers drinking alcohol, under the title "police having fun in the barracks", a policeman who states his membership of a far-right political group on his Facebook page and pictures of others the group claims are violent and racist.

The site has caused anger at the interior ministry as well as with officers and their unions. One policeman has filed an official complaint after he received hunting cartridges in the mail. The officer concerned said he was identified on the Copwatch site. Police unions have also lodged complaints.

The group behind the site has said it is a "collective of citizens who want to fight against police violence with transparency and information."

Interior minister Claude Guéant has described the site as "completely unacceptable and scandalous."

A Paris court will consider the case on Wednesday.

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