Four police officers charged after alleged assault of Black music producer

By IBTISSEM GUENFOUD, ABC News

(PARIS) — The alleged beating of a Black music producer by three police officers inside his Paris studio is stirring outrage in France.

Paris’ court of justice on Monday indicted four police officers, including three for “voluntary violence by a person holding public authority” and “forgery in public writing” for allegedly lying on police reports, according to local radio station Europe1.

Two of the police officers, a brigadier and a peacekeeper, were placed in pre-trial custody. The third, also a peacekeeper, was placed under judicial supervision. A fourth police officer suspected of having thrown a tear gas canister inside the studio during the arrest was charged Sunday, over a week after the alleged attack occurred on Nov. 21 in the 17th arrondissement of Paris.

In a seven-minute video recorded on surveillance cameras, producer Michel Zecler is seen being beaten several times with a police baton and kicked by three police officers in his studio. Zecler was first approached by police after being seen on camera without a mask on and leaving his car to enter his studio.

The videos were shared with journalists of French outlet Loopsider. According to Loopsider’s reporting, the officers claimed Zecler dragged them inside the studio, hit them and then called for reinforcements, a version that the surveillance camera videos refute.

“It’s going so fast, I wonder if they are real police,” Michel said in an interview with Loopsider.

The officers also allegedly attacked young artists, including a minor, who were present in the studio.

Two lawyers for three of the officers did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said last week the police officers had “screwed up” and asked for their suspension “as a precaution.”

Zecler’s lawyer, Hafida El Ali, called the beating “despicable” and described the officers’ behavior as similar to “thugs and delinquents.”

El Ali told ABC News media coverage of this case helped speed up the indictments.

French President has also weighed in, saying the alleged attack was “unacceptable” and adding that the nation “will never accept the violence perpetrated against our police and our gendarmes, all those who wear the uniform.”

The French government has been accused of attacking public freedoms through a much-criticized bill on global security that was approved in France’s National Assembly on Nov. 24.

More than 133,000 people demonstrated across France on Saturday to protest the bill, which protects the faces and identity of police officers from being disseminated with a “malicious intent” online. Some protestors carried “Je Suis Michel” signs in support of the music producer.

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