A protest movement has taken place within the police since the provisional detention of an agent of the Marseille BAC for suspicion of police violence during the riots.
An incarceration that does not pass. Arthur*, a Marseille policeman, has been on sick leave since last weekend. He knows the BAC police officer placed in pre-trial detention on suspicion of police violence during the riots in Marseille. He was also on the ground at the height of the urban violence in Marseille during the events, this night from July 1 to 2: “You have to realize that for 20 years, I have never experienced this kind of riot. This colleague could have been me or any policeman who, that evening, worked.”
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For this agent, seeing his colleague behind bars is too much. “I went to see my doctor, I couldn’t anymore and I’m even thinking of contacting the administration’s psychological support service because we’re getting to the end of it”, says Arthur. A police protest movement has been taking place since the Marseille police officer was remanded in custody on Thursday July 20. An incarceration disputed by Frédéric Veaux, the boss of the national police, provoking the indignation of elected representatives of the opposition and magistrates. From New Caledonia, Emmanuel Macron explained that he understood “the emotion of the police” after the recent riots while recalling that “No one in the Republic is above the law”.
“We are not heard”
Marseille is the epicenter of the protest movement where more and more police officers are taking sick leave. According to the figures communicated by the police unions, in Marseille and in the Bouches-du-Rhône, there are around a thousand police officers on sick leave against several hundred this weekend. The words of the director general of the police are not enough for the moment to calm the anger of the police.
Clara is one of those civil servants currently on sick leave. She explains how she felt at that moment, during the judge’s decision. “At any time, we can come and knock on our door and tell us that for x or y interventions, a little nail breakage or a word that is too high or too long, we can go through it too and without having the right to say: ‘Yes, but’. So in the morning we get up, we go to work, and in the evening we hear a penitentiary door lock, and that’s intolerable!”
The four Marseille BAC police officers were indicted for “willful violence resulting in an ITT of more than 8 days”, specifies the Marseille public prosecutor’s office, aggravated by three circumstances, since they were “committed in a meeting, with the use or threat of a weapon and by a person holding public authority in the exercise of their functions”.
Clara’s shutdown should last at least four more days. For her, it is not a stop of convenience and a pretext to express her dissatisfaction: “It’s a stoppage that means we can’t take it anymore. We’re at the end of the day and we’re not heard. Every time we call or go on an intervention, potentially we wonder if it’s not going to turn sour or if it’s not going to turn against us. “
“It was nice to feel supported”
For his part, Arthur wonders about his future within the police force. “The number of people who no longer want to work on the public highway… I don’t know if that’s my case, but I’m starting to think about converting to a quiet service. My state of mind, for the moment, is not to abandon the population because deep down inside me, I know that we are useful. “
This is why the words of Frédéric Veaux are welcome for Arthur: “I can assure you that it made colleagues happy to hear that, to feel supported and understood. In fact, we are the most controlled profession. I can assure you that no police officer feels above the law.” This Marseille policeman sees with satisfaction the discontent movement beginning to spread, particularly in Île-de-France.
*Name has been changed
The testimony of a Marseille policeman on sick leave – Aurélien Thirard