Europe

Investigation opens in France into police beating of women in headscarves

Nanterre prosecutor’s office initiates probe into unprovoked assault by officers in northern town of Asnieres

Cindi Cook   | 04.05.2022
Investigation opens in France into police beating of women in headscarves

PARIS

France’s General Inspectorate for the National Police in the public prosecutor’s office in Nanterre on Wednesday opened an investigation into the beating of two women wearing headscarves by three officers in the town of Asnieres on April 14, according to French news outlet Le Figaro.  

An initial complaint was filed by the women’s lawyer Nabil Boudi on April 21, with a first probe opened on April 28 for “violence by public authority.”  

The women, aged 23 and 24, claimed in their complaint that the officers slapped them with no reason while they were crossing the Clichy Bridge in the town of Asnieres, which lies in the Normandy region in northern France. 

They detailed that a patrol car had flashed its lights at them as they made their way across a pedestrian crosswalk, and the car then stopped suddenly in the middle of the lane in front of them. 

The women said the officers got out of their vehicle with two of them slapping one of the women several times in the back and chest, and calling her “a dirty whore.” That woman also lost consciousness from the brutality she suffered.

One of the officers attempted to rip off the headscarf that one of the women was wearing. Videos of the event have circulated on social media. 

Boudi, the women’s attorney, said in a tweet on Wednesday that he “welcomes the speed with which the prosecution took up this complaint” but “regrets that the racist and Islamophobic character was not retained.” 

For their part, the police officers involved filed their own complaint on April 16 claiming “rebellion in a meeting” and “violence against persons holding public authority.” 

A tweet sent out from their headquarters further detailed that they had “activated the sound and light warning devices to control an offending vehicle. Despite the emergency, two women crossed the road, outraged the police and evaded control in the middle of a crowd that intervened.”

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