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France’s interior minister orders suspension of police caught on camera beating music producer

France's interior minister on Thursday ordered the suspension of several police who beat up a music producer in central Paris after images posted on social media sparked new anger over the conduct of the security forces.

France's interior minister orders suspension of police caught on camera beating music producer
Interior minister Gérald Darmanin. Photo: AFP

The images published by the online news site Loopsider showed the music producer, identified only as Michel, being repeatedly beaten as he tried to enter a music studio in the 17th district of Paris.

 

The incident comes after a string of high-profile probes into police violence and as concern grows over new legislation that would restrict the right of the press to publish images of the faces of police.

The man was himself initially arrested for violence and failure to obey the police. But prosecutors threw out the probe and instead opened an investigation against the police officers themselves for committing violence while in a position of authority.

“I am asking the chief of (Paris) police to suspend on an interim basis the police officers concerned,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter.

 

The man's lawyer, Hafida El Ali, told AFP that her client had been detained for 48 hours on the basis of “lies by the police who had outrageously attacked him”.

Loopsider, which has exposed several episodes of police brutality in recent months, said that the images “had to be seen to understand the full extent of the problem”.

Loopsider said Michel had initially been stopped for not wearing a mask and subjected to racial abuse by the police.

There has already been virulent criticism of the police this week after late on Monday they used tear gas to remove migrants from a camp set up in central Paris.

Prosecutors have opened probes into the use of violence against both a journalist and a migrant in that incident.

The lower house of parliament on Tuesday evening gave initial approval to a security bill which would restrict the publication of photos or videos of police officers' faces, although it still faces further legislative hurdles.

READ ALSO The French bill to restrict photos or video of police officers

Media unions say it could give police a green light to prevent journalists from doing their work and potentially documenting abuses.

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POLICE

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”

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