Clashes continue in France over police assault on black man
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 12, 2017,
Feb 12, 2017, 14:43
Rape charges have been filed against the officer and all four police involved in Theo's stop-and-search have been suspended pending an investigation.
While the rally was mostly peaceful, eyewitnesses at the scene said clashes broke out after a handful of protesters hurled projectiles at the police and several vehicles were set alight, including a van belonging to RTL radio station.
The unrest occurred in Bobigny, a district in the northeastern suburbs of Paris that is home to a large immigrant community.
The man, only identified as Theo, told BBC he was leaving his house in the suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois when he was stopped by police doing identity checks that are believed to target drug dealers.
The young man - who is still hospitalized - says he was sodomized with a police baton.
Theo's case has prompted a week of demonstrations in the impoverished district.
Cars and refuse bins were torched in a night of violence on February 7 and disturbances resumed on Saturday.
Police officials have insisted the incident was a weird accident, according to AFP, saying officers were "applying a truncheon blow horizontally across the buttocks" and "there are insufficient elements to show that this was a rape".
A video of the scene shows a policeman "applying a truncheon blow horizontally across the buttocks with a truncheon" and a police source said that Theo's pants "slipped down on their own".
According to AFP, French President Francois Hollande visited Theo in the hospital personally to express "solidarity".
"I didn't think it still exists", said 18-year-old Anissa."How can they say it's an accident?" The shop is 200,000 euros, at least.
Officials said that four people had been arrested in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille earlier in the day during another march against police violence.