French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed that he's "very shocked" over what he called the "shameful aggression" of four Paris police officers who beat a black man inside his own business merely for not wearing a mask.
The officers didn't know they were being filmed, according to French media, and it was uploaded to the internet Thursday, after which Macron summoned his interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, to the Elysée to demand "firm punishment" for those police involved.
The police brutality incident has driven international headlines at the end of this past week following prior months of Black Lives Matter and George Floyd-related protests in the United States.
Here's now NPR summarized what happened:
Michel Zecler, a 41-year-old music producer, was not wearing a face mask — required under current COVID-19 measures — when police officers saw him walking in Paris last Saturday. As he tried to enter his music studio, the police officers pushed him through the doorway and pummeled him repeatedly with their fists and a billy club.
The beating stopped when others in the building came to Zecler's aid, though police later threw a tear-gas canister through the window to force him to leave his studio and arrested Zecler and others.
"The images we have all seen of the aggression against Michel Zecler are unacceptable, they are shameful for all of us. France should never allow violence or brutality, no matter who it comes from. France should never let hate or racism prosper," Macron said in a statement posted to Facebook
"Those whose job it is to apply the law should respect the law," he added.
In a rare move, authorities apprehended the four police officers Friday and held them for questioning. They face charges of "deliberate violence in a group with weapons and of a racist nature."
Police violently beat up a black man in Macron’s France for 15 minutes for not wearing a mask. Police then accuse the man for trying to steal their gun. No one would have known the truth if this footage did not show up. pic.twitter.com/Af3dz5dbLz— Turan Resul Turkoglu (@trtbreaking) November 26, 2020
Macron has reportedly demanded “very clear sanctions” against the officers from his interior minister.
Zecler described that the police officers used racial slurs while the attack ensued.
At various moments in the chilling footage police were seen grasphing at Zecler's neck.
Prior to the video hitting the web Zecler spent up to 48 hours in jail after the police made what appear to be false statements staying he had initially attacked them and tried to grab their weapons.
Today's protests in France are over police violence and an authoritarian security bill which protects police. They're also about the brutal beating of Michel Zecler, a Black music producer.— Camila (@camilateleSUR) November 28, 2020
He was beaten by police for 13 minutes. pic.twitter.com/oCOI5BfPZI
"If we didn’t have the videos, my client might be in prison right now," his lawyer said in a press briefing.
Zecler himself later described to journalists: "These people were supposed to protect me. I didn’t do anything to deserve that. I want these people punished by the law. Of course I was afraid… it’s lucky I have the videos to protect me. This shouldn’t happen."