French police officer charged with rape of young man

Four officers charged after youth worker with no criminal record was allegedly raped with a police baton, prompting a wave of protests in the area

May Bulman
Monday 06 February 2017 18:52 GMT
The allegations have sparked protests in Aulnay-sous-Bois over police brutality
The allegations have sparked protests in Aulnay-sous-Bois over police brutality

A French police officer has been accused of anally raping a young black man with a police baton during a violent arrest in a Parisian suburb.

Three other officers were charged with assault, after a 22-year-old youth worker with no criminal record was allegedly beaten and raped with a police baton on a housing estate in Aulnay-sous-Bois.

The prosecutor’s office said the police had stopped a group of about a dozen people after hearing calls of drug dealing sites in the area.

During the operation the officers “attempted to arrest a 22-year-old man”, and when he resisted, used tear gas and “one of them used an expandable baton”, it added.

But the man, known only as Theo, suffered such serious injuries to his rectum that he needed major emergency surgery, and remains in hospital.

In a recording of his account of events to his lawyer, Theo said that during “violent” identity checks a policeman tore his bag, and then proceeded to beat him.

“I didn’t try to run away. I told the officers: ‘You’ve torn my bag’, to which they replied that they didn’t give a damn," he said. “They all tried to grab me. I asked them why they were doing this, but they just continued to throw insults at me."

People hold a sign reading "Justice for Theo" during a protest in Aulnay-sous-Bois on Monday, a day after a French police officer was charged with the rape of a young man

He added: “He told me to put my hands behind my back. They put handcuffs on me and then they told me to sit down. They sprayed tear gas in my face and then I had a pain in my buttocks. My trousers were lowered. I was in serious pain.”

The charges prompted a wave of protests in Aulnay-sous-Bois, with crowds coming out on Monday holding banners and T-shirts bearing the message: "Justice for Theo".

French police are regularly accused of using excessive force in poor areas, particularly against ethnic minorities.

The death in police custody of a young black man, Adama Traoré, in another suburb of Paris last summer and the slow reaction of authorities sparked accusations of police violence and a state cover-up.

Riots also erupted in 2005 when two teenagers were electrocuted while being chased by police.

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