PARIS  – Three French police officers were suspended Thursday for beating up a Black man in Paris.

The 15-minute incident was caught on camera Saturday inside a music studio in the 17th district. The officers were seen punching and hitting the music producer named Michel allegedly for not wearing a mask.

Amid the pandemic, wearing a mask in public places is mandatory in Paris.

In their written report of the event, the police officers said: “As we try to intercept him, he forcibly drags us into the building.” They repeated a few times in the report that the man tried to punch them.

Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin suspended the officers over charges of “violence” and “forgery in public writing”.

Footage which was widely shared on social media shows police officers entering the music studio, grabbing Michel and attacking him for a quarter of an hour, while he never retaliates.

Hearing his cries for help, people working in the studio below came upstairs to aid Michel. After a brief scuffle, the officers made a fast exit but upon doing so threw a tear gas canister through the window inside the music studio which filled the premises with smoke.

Michel was then taken into custody and charged with “violence against a person in public authority” and “rebellion” and the Paris prosecutor’s office launched an investigation.

By Tuesday, the tables had turned, with the Paris prosecutor’s office closing the case and turning it over to the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) who launched their own investigation onto the officers with the charges now of “violence by persons holding public authority” and “forgery in public writing.”

France has dealt with the issue of police brutality many times over.

The event is yet another that comes in the midst of the French government’s voting on a new global security bill, which explicitly prohibits the taking of photos of police and law enforcement in the line of duty and disseminating those photos in the press. Journalists object to this article, and the law in general, as a violation of freedom of expression.

The bill was adopted by the National Assembly on Tuesday and will now go to the Senate for review in January.

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