• France's news in English

VIDEO: French police violence sparks outrage

Dan MacGuill · 20 Aug 2013, 10:11

Published: 20 Aug 2013 10:11 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The eight-minute video (see below), which has been watched more than 600,000 times on Youtube, shows the later stages of an arrest taking place on rue Pierre Coubertin in the town of Joué-les-Tours, in the Indre-et-Loire department.

According to local daily La Nouvelle Republique, the two officers had stopped a car driving erratically on the street early on Sunday morning, and found the driver highly intoxicated.

The latter became uncooperative and unruly when asked to submit to the alcohol test, and a female passenger intervened, allegedly biting one of the two officers, according to a representative of the Unité SGP police officers union, who spoke to France Bleu radio on Tuesday.

The video begins with one officer attempting to subdue the driver and keep him on the ground, while the second officer grapples with one of the female passengers, striking her freely with his baton, including once, with force, on the face.

A few moments later, the same officer goes to his vehicle to retrieve tear gas, according to French daily Le Parisien, which he sprays in the face of the woman, before also spraying a second woman directly in the face.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday confirmed that the Inspectorate-General of the National Police had been informed of the events shown in the video.

Prosecutors in nearby Tours have said they intend to summon the two officers to tell their version of events, with a view to opening a full investigation, according to Le Parisien.

For his part, Valls warned: "There is no place in the police for violence, or views that have no accordance with the ideals of a republican police force."

"The police should be beyond reproach, and the vast majority of police officers do a difficult and remarkable job," Valls was quoted as saying by French daily Libération.

There has been overwhelmingly angry reaction from observers in France, with most condemning the actions of the police officers shown in the video.

Journalist Jean-Yves Viollier took to Twitter to express his outrage. "The policemen from Joué-les-Tours, gassing and beating a woman, should be suspended. They are a disgrace to French police."


A police union representative warned against drawing conclusions from the video without knowing all the facts. 

"The video may seem shocking but we don't know the context," Gaelle James of France's second-largest police union, Synergie Officiers, told AFP.

Story continues below…

She said the officer involved had reacted after being pinned down by the woman and bitten three times.

"He clubbed her to get away," James said. "He had to intervene under very difficult conditions. We cannot forget that violence against the police is increasing. This doesn't shock me."

The following is the eight-minute video in question, entitled "Honte à la police francaise" (Shame on French police), by uploader Nasser Tkt.

It contains moments of violence that some readers might find upsetting.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available