|French police brutality in the spotlight over black suspect beating
French prosecutors have launched an investigation after a video showing a police officer beating a black woman with a baton and spraying tear gas directly into her face sparked outrage.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prosecutors in the central city of Tours had ordered the IGPN police internal affairs branch to investigate after the video, called “Shame on the French police,’’ was posted on the internet on Sunday.
The eight-minute video, viewed nearly 660,000 times on YouTube as of mid day today, was filmed from the upper story of a building and shows two police officers trying to subdue a woman in the street, AFP reports.
Filmed early Sunday in the Tours suburb of Joue-les-Tours, the video does not show the beginning of the altercation, which local newspaper La Nouvelle Republique said started when police stopped a car driving erratically around 7:00 am local time.
The newspaper said the driver was drunk and refused an alcohol test. It quoted police sources as saying a female passenger in the car intervened, repeatedly biting one the officers.
The video shows the officer wrestling with the woman on the street, then striking her several times in the body with his baton and once fully in the face.
He then retrieves a bottle of tear gas from the boot of his police car and sprays it directly into her face.
The clearly enraged police officer then sprays another female passenger in the face with the tear gas, before several more police vehicles arrive.
The video caused deep outrage, with more than 11,000 comments posted on YouTube.
“Bravo to the French police! As racist, violent and disrespectful as ever,'' one viewer commented. “What a disgrace.''
But other comments noted that the video did not show the entire altercation, with some saying the police officer may have been justified in defending himself.