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CRIME

VIDEO: French police under fire again after unprovoked tear-gassing of homeless man

Just weeks after outrage at the use of tear gas by police on football fans at the Stade de France, a video has circulated showing French police launch an apparently unprovoked tear gas attack on a homeless man, causing widespread condemnation.

VIDEO: French police under fire again after unprovoked tear-gassing of homeless man
A photograph shows a French police logo on a police car in July 2022. (Photo by FRED TANNEAU / AFP)

This incident, which involved police officers using tear gas on a homeless man, occurred in Le Bourget, in the northern suburbs of Paris, around 4am on Friday July 15th.

A video of the event, which has circulated widely across social media, shows a police vehicle drive past a man carrying several bags, who appears to be homeless.

The vehicle backs up and then the police spray the man from the window of their patrol car, enveloping the man in a cloud of tear gas. The car then drives away, as the man grabs his face in pain, then falls to the ground. 

Many are already criticising the actions of these police officers, including the area’s MP, Raquel Garrido, who posted an open letter to the Paris police chief.

In the letter, shown below, Garrido calls the actions ‘intolerable’ especially considering “the attitude of this gentleman was obviously not threatening.”

According to several community members, the man in the video is indeed homeless and well-known to locals. The town’s mayor, Jean-Baptiste Borsali, told French daily Le Parisien that he is ‘not a bad guy’ and was simply taking out his trash at the time. 

Borsali added that he too learned of the incident as a result of the video circulating online and that the police had not yet informed him, but that it was “too early to pass judgement.”

The Paris Police prefecture has promised to investigate the event, saying it would be passed on to the General Inspectorate of the National Police, and that the officers, “once identified, will be subject to suspension.”

Police use of tear gas on football fans at the Champions League final was widely condemned, along with the organisation of the event which saw thousands of fans unable to access the ground in time for kick-off. The French Senate has been holding an enquiry into the chaotic scenes at the match.

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CRIME

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

Hackers who crippled a French hospital and stole a trove of data last month have released personal records of patients online, officials have confirmed.

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

The cyberattackers demanded a multimillion dollar ransom from the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital near Paris a month ago, but the institution refused to pay.

The hospital said the hackers had now dumped medical scans and lab analyses along with the social security numbers of patients.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the unspeakable disclosure of hacked data,” health minister François Braun tweeted on Sunday.

Hospitals around the world have been facing increasing attacks from ransomware groups, particularly since the pandemic stretched resources to breaking point.

The problem has been acute in France, where officials estimated early last year that healthcare institutions were facing on average an attack every week.

President Emmanuel Macron last year called the attacks during the pandemic a “crisis within a crisis” and announced an extra one billion euros for cybersecurity.

During last month’s attack, the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital shut down its emergency services and sent many patients to other institutions.

At one point, officials said the only technology still working was the telephone.

Rather than selling the trove of data, the hacker has dumped at least some of it for download on the “dark web” — a hidden part of the internet that requires special software to access.

Analysts said it seemed to be a tactic to put pressure on the hospital, even though public institutions are banned by French law from paying ransoms.

Cybersecurity researcher Damien Bancal, who revealed the leak and has seen the files, told AFP the worry is that other criminals will now launch scams with the data that has already been divulged.

In response to the leak on the weekend, the hospital severely restricted access to its systems and told patients to be extremely vigilant when receiving emails, text messages or phone calls.

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