Why was Nice ordered to delete CCTV images of attack?

French counter-terrorist police asked local authorities in Nice to delete CCTV images from the Promenade des Anglais on the night of the July 14th truck attack. But why?

Why was Nice ordered to delete CCTV images of attack?
Photo: AFP

That’s the question everyone in France is asking, especially after the government were forced to admit this week that security measures taken on the night of the truck attack were not at the level they had first suggested.

It emerged this week that French police asked authorities in the city of Nice to destroy CCTV footage that captured last week’s truck attack that killed 84 people. In all 24 hours of footage were asked to be wiped from memory cards.

In the request the anti-terror police in Paris ask Nice to “proceed with the complete destruction of footage from all cameras used on the Promenade des Anglais,” where the carnage took place on July 14.

Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel rammed a 19-tonne truck into a crowd along the promenade after a Bastille Day fireworks display.

He was subsequently shot dead by police.

The request, dated July 20, concerns “all copies of footage of the crime scene created outside of the investigation”.

The official explanation is that the police aimed to prevent dissemination of the “profoundly shocking” images.

“These images are sealed evidence (to be used only) for the purposes of the investigation,” the source added.

But with a probe having been launched into the police operation on the night to examine just how the truck was able to get onto the Promenade des Anglais, many have questioned whether the government are trying to cover up their failings.

There were worries that the images of destruction and death could have ended up in the hands of jihadist groups and used as propaganda, which would clearly be distressing for the government, not to mention the families of the victims and the people of Nice.

Legal sources have been at pains to tell the French press there is nothing sinister behind the request to delete images that investigators have already copied.

“These images are extremely shocking. They are of an extreme violence that if published would be against the dignity and integrity of the victims,” a judicial source told L’Express magazine.

A lawyer for the city of Nice, which is run by the opposition Republicans party, said the request was problematic because it involved tampering with evidence.

Lawyer Philippe Blanchetier said the images would normally be automatically deleted after 10 days.

Various reports in France on Friday said Town Hall authorities in Nice will refuse to delete the images.


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French prosecutors demand magazine’s withdrawal over Nice terror attack images

Relatives of the 86 victims of last year's Nice terror attack have been outraged at a magazine's publication of video surveillance images of the moment a jihadist's truck plowed into the crowd. Prosecutors are demanding the publication be withdrawn.

French prosecutors demand magazine's withdrawal over Nice terror attack images
Photo: AFP

The Paris prosecutor on Thursday demanded the withdrawal of the latest edition of Paris Match which contains surveillance camera images from last year's Bastille Day attack that killed 86 people in Nice.

It asked the court “to order the withdrawal from sale” of the weekly news magazine, which came out Thursday, and “ban publication in all formats, notably digital”, of the issue, which has angered the victims' families.

A judge is to rule on the request at 2pm French time.

The images in question were taken from video surveillance cameras along the Promenade des Anglais, where a Tunisian jihadist plowed his truck into the crowd who had been watching the annual July 14th fireworks show.

The images are believed to show the moments the truck struck the victims, although Paris Match insists no one can be identified.

An investigation is also underway over breach of confidentiality which will try to determine how Paris Match was able to get hold of the images.

Eric Morain, the lawyer for the victims of terror attacks said the images were “an attack on the dignity of both the victims and their families”.

Victims associations have also denounced the publication they say is based solely on a desire to be “sensational” and to create “a morbid and voyeuristic atmosphere” on the anniversary of the attack.

The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi described the images as “unbearable and abject”.

But the magazine's editor Olivier Royant justified the publication in a statement.

He said staff “had wanted to pay homage to the victims, by re-visiting them one year later… so that society does not forget them.”

Royant said many of the photos had already been published in the media as well as on TV. He said they images are taken from afar, without identifying anyone and without “attacking their dignity”.

This year, instead of a fireworks display that drew some 30,000 revellers last year to the famous Promenade des Anglais there will be candles, a memory book and a solemn speech by President Emmanuel Macron.