Rioting and protests broke in Aulnay-sous-Bois, France last night after a French policeman was accused of sexually assaulting a black youth worker with a baton.
The victim identified as a 22 year old male named Theo, was arrested on Thursday in the “3000 estate”, a northeastern suburb of Paris, after officers stopped a group of about twelve people on suspicion of dealing drugs. During the operation the officers “attempted to arrest a 22 year old man”, when he resisted, they used tear gas and “one of them used an expandable baton”, according to the prosecutor’s office.
However, the man in question suffered such serious injuries to his rectum that he needed major emergency surgery. According to France24, the examining doctor said he had suffered “a longitudinal wound in the anal canal” and “a section of the sphincter muscle”. At present, he remains in hospital on sixty day medical leave.
A cropped video of the assault at what appears to be a higher vantage point has since appeared online, but the footage of the alleged rape has been edited out. Theo said in a recording of his account of events to his lawyer that during the “violent” identity check, a policeman tore his bag and 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”. They all tried to grab me. I asked them why they were doing this, but they just continued to throw insults at me. 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 an ephemeral pain in my buttocks. My trousers were lowered. I was in serious pain.
— Twitter: (@Lamhfada) February 6, 2017
As a result, one French police officer has been accused of anally raping the young man with a police baton. Three other officers were charged with assault, the Independent reports. The charges prompted a wave of protests in Aulnay-sous-Bois Monday, with crowds holding banners and T-shirts reading: “Justice for Theo”. At one point during the weekend, all of the street lights went out in the 3000 estate due to vandalism. Graffiti has also appeared on buildings calling the police rapists, Elite Daily reports.
This isn’t the first time French police have been accused of using excessive force in poorer areas. The death in police custody of a young man named Adama Traor, last summer saw slow reaction from authorities and sparked accusations of police violence and subsequent cover-up. Protests also erupted in 2005 after two teenagers were electrocuted while being chased by police.