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Paris police protest over officer’s arrest

Hundreds of angry policemen demonstrated on the Champs-Elysées in Paris late Wednesday to protest charges laid against a colleague who had shot dead a serial offender in the capital's suburbs.

Paris police protest over officer's arrest

As the policemen, some of them in cars with sirens blaring, paraded on the French capital’s best-known avenue and in the suburb of Bobigny where the drama occurred, Interior Minister Claude Guéant said he “understands their emotion.”

A delegation of the three policemen’s unions was received at the interior ministry and demanded that the accused officer should continue to be paid, a representative told AFP.

The unusual show of solidarity by the police came after one of their number was arrested for voluntary homicide.

On Saturday night in the Noisy-le-Sec district of Bobigny one of four policemen tipped off about a fugitive said he was confronted with an armed man who flung a grenade at him. He fired four shots at the man who died shortly afterwards, the policeman said.

However an autopsy showed the victim had been shot in the back, according to court records. The grenade turned out to be a dud.

The 33-year-old policeman pleaded self-defence. 

“The police are really up in arms,” said Nicolas Comte, leader of the union of which the accused policeman was a delegate.

“We do not deny that justice must be done, but the description of voluntary homicide by the judge is incomprehensible.”

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POLICE

Paris suburbs see third night of violence

The Parisian suburbs of Sevran, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Tremblay-en-France have seen clashes between residents and police, ever since an officer shot and killed the driver of a stolen van on Saturday.

Paris suburbs see third night of violence

Angry residents and police clashed for a third night in suburbs north of Paris, leading to 13 arrests following the fatal shooting of a father-of-four by an officer at the weekend, police said Tuesday.

Despite a heavy police presence to prevent further violence, several cars, a dozen bins and an abandoned sports centre were set alight overnight in the low-income Sevran, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Tremblay-en-France suburbs, a police source told AFP.

The unrest began Saturday after a police officer fatally shot the driver of a van that had been reported stolen and was being inspected at a traffic light in Sevran at around lunchtime.

The officer was hospitalised afterwards “in a state of shock,” local prosecutor Eric Mathais said Sunday, while internal police investigators have opened a probe into the incident.

Local people who knew the man named as Jean-Paul told AFP that he had taken a van owned by his employer who owed him wages.

They have also questioned how the officer could justify opening fire when his life was not in danger, which is the only justification for using a weapon under French law.

A protest march by the dead man’s family is expected in the next few days.

Residents in France’s multiracial suburbs often complain about heavy-handed policing methods and violence that have led to a series of scandals in recent years, including the February 2017 arrest of a black man who was allegedly sodomised with a police baton.

Police unions say officers often face hostility and attacks, and are faced with the difficult task of trying to maintain order in impoverished high-rise housing estates that in some cases are centres of drug dealing and other criminality.

The French government began a public consultation in February aimed at devising ways to increase public confidence in the police.

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