PARIS – France’s top security official says police will no longer hold sockholds that have been accused of renewed criticism and renewed criticism after George Floyd’s death in the United States.
As the French government rises to address the brutality and racism allegations within the police force, Interior Minister Christoph Castaner declared on Monday that “strangulation will be abandoned and will no longer be taught in police schools.”
He said that when arrested, “pushing the back or neck of the neck is now prohibited.”
Three days after a Minneapolis police officer blew his air, another black man wrote on the tarmac of a street in Paris that he was pressed on his neck when a police officer was arrested. French lawmakers have called for such practices to be banned, and they have been criticized in other countries as well.
France has witnessed many protests over the past week triggered by Floyd’s death, which has provoked worldwide anger.
President Emmanuel Macron has been unusually silent so far on Floyd’s death and what is happening in France. Macron’s office said he had spoken to the prime minister and other top officials over the weekend and asked Costner to “expedite” plans to improve the police protocol promised in early January.
Last week, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation into racist insults and racist hatred based on comments posted by the police on a private Facebook group.
The website has published a string of offensive news reports claiming to have been posted within the StreetRes team, although it is unclear whether the authors are actual police officers or acting as police. Some of the comments that made fun of young people of color who escaped from the police.
Separately, six police officers in the Normandy city of Rouen are undergoing an internal investigation into racist remarks in a private WhatsApp group. Both incidents sparked public concern over the extreme views of French police.
Castaner acknowledged the existence of racist police officers, and pledged “tolerance” for racism within the force going forward.
French activists say tensions have worsened in low-income areas with a minority population amid Corona virus prison operations, as they have given more power to the police.
At least 23,000 people protested in cities around France on Saturday against racial injustice and police brutality, breaking the police ban on such protests in Paris for fear of spreading the corona virus.
Activists marched in the western city of Nantes on Monday, and further demonstrations are scheduled for Tuesday when Floyd is buried in France.