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French police officers suspended after a video emerges of them beating a Black man

This video grab taken on November 27, 2020 from an AFP video shows CCTV camera footage, widely distributed on social networks, shows producer Michel Zecler being beaten up by police officers at the entrance of a music studio in the 17th arrondissement of Paris on November 21, 2020. - Four French police officers were detained for questioning on November 27, 2020 after a video showed them beating up a black music producer in Paris, sparking outrage from the government and celebrities, a source close to the case told AFP. The officers, who have been suspended from duty, were being held at the National Police Inspectorate General (IGPN), and prosecutors opened an investigation into violence by a person in authority and false testimony, the source said. (Photo by - / Michel Zecler / GS Group / AFP) (Photo by - / MICHEL ZECLER / GS GROUP/AFP via Getty Images)

Several French police officers were suspended Thursday after a video emerged of them beating a Black man in Paris.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he personally ordered the suspensions after the security camera footage was published by the news website Loopsider.
The video from Saturday shows the man, identified by his lawyer as Michel Zecler, being beaten by the officers.
“These images are unspeakable, extremely shocking and as soon as I learned about them, and about what happened, I asked for the suspension of those police officers,” Darmanin said in a televised address Thursday night.
“As soon as the facts will be confirmed by justice, since it is looking into it, I will ask for the dismissal of those police officers,” he added.
Loopsider published an interview with an unnamed man with facial injuries which it said was the victim of the beating. “At that moment, I’m scared, I’m telling myself maybe today is my last day, here’s what I thought to myself, it’s my last day and I don’t know why,” he said in the video.
Reuters said the man told reporters he was walking near his studio without a face mask, a breach of French Covid-19 rules. He said he ducked into the studio when he saw the police officers to avoid a fine. The man said the officers then physically beat and racially abused him.
The Paris Police Prefecture said in a statement Thursday the French internal police investigation body was asked to investigate the incident and added it asked the general director of the National Police to suspend the police officers involved as a precaution. CNN was unable to immediately determine who was representing the suspended officers.
The incident comes amid protests against police brutality in France and just days after another video of police violence shocked the French public. That video was filmed Monday during an operation to dismantle a migrant camp in central Paris.
Darmanin tweeted then that “some images of the dismantling of the illegal migrants camp” were “shocking.” He said later that he had also asked the French internal police investigation body to look into the operation.
Claire Hédon, the French civil liberties ombudsman, announced Tuesday that she, too, would be looking into the police actions.
The Paris prosecutor’s office has told CNN that investigations into both the migrant camp incident and the beating have been opened.
Two separate probes related to the camp dismantling were launched Tuesday — one related to acts allegedly committed against a migrant, and the other concerning acts of violence committed against a journalist, the prosecutor’s office said.
The latest incidents reignited a controversy over the Global Security Bill, passed by the French National Assembly on Tuesday. The widely criticized bill forbids the publication of images that allow the identification of a law enforcement officer “with the intent to cause them harm, physically or mentally.”
The restrictions — which still need to be passed by the Senate — prompted protests from civil liberties organizations and journalists. Christophe Deloire, the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, tweeted Thursday that he had met French Prime Minister Jean Castex to discuss the law, and announced the upcoming creation of an independent commission to rule on it.