Yellow Vests: The Police will be Judged for Violence, Promises the Prosecutor of Paris

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Yellow vests: the police will be judged for violence, promises the prosecutor of Paris

Remy Heitz, criticised for his management of yellow vets and his reluctance to prosecute members of the police, returned to the six months of the movement.

The Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz ensures that police implicated for violence during demonstrations of yellow vests will be sent to justice, a way to “throw in” food law enforcement according to the union Alliance.

In an interview with the Parisian online Thursday, May 30, 2019, the prosecutor came back on the six months of mobilisation of yellow vests marked by criticism against his floor, both for his management of the custody of the demonstrators and for his reluctance supposed to prosecute members of the security forces accused of violence.

2448 injured protesters

“I want to be very clear: there is no desire on my part to avoid this violence or to minimise it,” he said.

Since the beginning of the movement on November 17, 2448 people have been wounded on the demonstrators side and 1797 among the police, according to figures of the Ministry of the Interior arrested on May 13.

According to the Paris prosecutor, 171 investigations were entrusted to the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) and three to the General Inspectorate of the National Gendarmerie (IGGN). The investigations are now over for 57 of them and the prosecution has to decide on possible judicial action.

The lost eye of Jerome Rodrigues

Eight have already “justified the opening of a judicial inquiry”, entrusted to investigating judges, he announced. Procedures that deal with facts that are classified as criminal but also criminal, according to a judicial source.

The prosecutor referred to the facts related to one of the figures of Yellow Vests, Jerome Rodrigues, who lost an eye on January 26 , or those committed in a Burger King restaurant on December 1. “There are several cases related to the use of defence ball launchers (LBD),” he detailed, adding that at present “no police officer or gendarme has been indicted”.

As for other cases under the authority of the prosecution, the successor of François Molins ensures that they will be analysed “with great attention”. “There will be no follow-up classifications” and “also police referrals to the correctional court by the end of the year”.

If he considers that “the Republic owes a special recognition” to the police, Mr. Heitz has however assured that “justice will pass in these cases, as in all others”.

“Political turnaround”

A message that comes, for the Alliance police union, to throw “in the public square” the police “after months of very violent protests for which the police and their professionalism were needed”.

“Today, it seems, while the mobilisation is down, that some statements come to undermine the presumption of innocence of the police,” said Olivier Houraud, deputy secretary general of the union, in a written statement to the AFP.

“Why suddenly we hear about passages in correctional (…)”, he wonders, adding that Alliance will not hesitate “to react if necessary, if some seem to want to settle their accounts! “.

“I have the impression that justice takes a political turn,” for his part indicated on franceinfo Grégory Joron, national secretary CRS for the union Unit SGP Police-FO.

2907 police custody

On the demonstrators side, since the beginning of the movement, the prosecutor has registered 2907 police custody. They resulted in unresolved classifications in 44.8% of the cases while 1357 persons were referred, of which 515 were judged in immediate appearance.

In addition, investigations are continuing in 30 cases entrusted to the judicial police. “These are the most serious and complex cases: assaults by police, the looting of luxury signs or the rampage of the Arc de Triomphe …”, or files for which there is “a important work to be done on the video “, such as” the attack on Givenchy and Dior stores “on November 24, Heitz added.

Asked also about his controversial circular calling for the removal of the police custody only after the demonstrations, the prosecutor confided to have “badly experienced this mis en cause”. “There was no question of keeping someone in custody in the absence of an offence,” he defended.

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