French police have claimed that an officer anally raped a 22-year-old black man with a baton by accident.
Protests and riots erupted in a Paris suburb following the sexual assault of the man who suffered at the hands of four police officers during a routine ID check.
The protests have been ongoing in the Paris suburbs and are now spreading across the country
The Independent reports:
In an initial investigation, they found “insufficient evidence” to support the man’s claim that he was deliberately sodomised.
A lawyer for one of the officer’s suggested his expandable baton slipped into the man’s anus by accident.
The findings of the internal police inquiry were announced as violent protests continued for a sixth night in Paris’ northern suburbs, over the incident involving a man identified only as Théo
The youth worker suffered such severe injuries to his rectum during an arrest last week in Aulnay-sous-Bois, north of Paris, that he needed major emergency surgery and remains in hospital.
The case drew attention to alleged police brutality in France, where officers are regularly accused of using excessive force in poorer neighbourhoods, particularly against young black men.
President Francois Hollande visited Théo, who had no police record prior to the incident and was stopped last week for an identity check, in hospital on Tuesday, in a bid to calm tensions on housing estates and deflect criticism that the government has not taken allegations of police brutality seriously.
Théo a réagi avec dignité et responsabilité. La justice a été saisie, il faut lui faire confiance. Elle ira jusqu’au bout. pic.twitter.com/YRlpdFXII6
— François Hollande (@fhollande) February 7, 2017
With Mr Hollande beside his hospital bed, Théo made a televised appeal for his neighbourhood to stay calm and “stay united”. He said he did not want a war on the estate and that he trusted the justice system.
But the finding of the inquiry may now spark more protests.
Police reviewed a video which reportedly shows an officer “applying a truncheon blow horizontally across the buttocks”. After this Theo’s trousers “slipped down on their own”, a police source told French media.
Investigators said they had taken into account “the questioning of the victim and the (police officers), eyewitness accounts and CCTV recordings” and had concluded that “there are insufficient elements to show that this was a rape”.
However, a magistrate has charged one of the police officers with rape and is still investigating the case. Three other officers have been charged with assault and all four have been suspended.