French police officers threw their handcuffs on the ground in a show of solidarity Thursday after feeling “insulted” by claims that France tolerates racism and police brutality.
The officers protested across the country following a decision by Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to ban chokeholds in an effort to crack down on police brutality. Castaner noted that many officers “have failed in their Republican duty” and have exhibited racism toward minorities in the same way American police have shown to black suspects, the BBC reported.
“We are angry at the announcements that are made, where we suspect the police of everything and nothing, whereas in our country the police really reflect the image of its population, ”Xavier Leveau, of the police union, told media outlets. “People think that the police are racist, whereas in our country we have people of all ethnic groups, and we all work well together.”
The police protests took place in Paris, Lille , Rennes, Bordeaux, Toulouse and other cities. Officers could be seen lining up and tossing their handcuffs on the ground.
On Friday, French police defied a ban on mass gatherings to march against police reform and what they claim is a lack of government support, including limits on arrests tactics, such as the chokehold.
Leveau defended the chokehold, saying the “head restraint is very important during handcuffing” and was nothing like what was used to restrain George Floyd , a black man who died after a Minneapolis police office pinned his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.
“We are angry at the announcements that are made, where we suspect the police of everything and nothing, whereas in our country the police really reflect the image of its population,” Leveau said . “People think that the police are racist, whereas in our country we have people of all ethnic groups, and we all work well together.”
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A French police watchdog claimed it received nearly 1, 500 complaints against officers last year. Anti-racism marches have sprouted up in France following Floyd’s death but many have been in response to the death of Adama Traore, a – – year-old black Frenchman who died during a (police operation.
The officers were not charged.
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