In the aftermath of improvised demonstrations in several cities in France, Monday, March 20, and muscular interventions by the police relayed on social networks, the prefect of Paris, Laurent Nunez, refuted any “excessive violence” and denied the existence of “unwarranted arrests”. “Completely unfair and devoid of reality reactions”, considered the senior official on Tuesday on BFM-TV.

“We are arrested for offenses which, in our eyes, are constituted” and, once the placement in police custody has been decided by a judicial police officer (OPJ), “we have 48 hours to try to materialize the offense, c ‘is short,’ insisted the prefect of police. “When we reach the end of 48 hours, sometimes we have not characterized the offense, we are in a state of law, it’s happy, and at that time, there are no prosecutions” , he continued.

The prefect also pointed out “that a certain number of people were not brought [presented before a judge] but there were alternatives to prosecution, so the offense was established”. During the first spontaneous gathering on Thursday, Place de la Concorde, interspersed with incidents, only nine people were presented to the prosecution, in particular for reminders of the law, out of the 292 placed in police custody. 283 proceedings were thus dismissed, for insufficiently characterized infringement or absence of infringement.

The next day, 60 people were taken into police custody: 34 proceedings were closed, 21 led to alternative measures (reminder of the law, probationary warning, etc.) and five to a trial. A total of 287 people, including 234 in Paris, were arrested Monday evening in France during a fifth consecutive evening of spontaneous demonstrations against the use of 49.3.

An investigation opened after the punch to a demonstrator

Regarding the “traps”, filmed and broadcast, Laurent Nunez distinguished two types of traps. On the one hand, the “judicial traps”: “When we arrest people because they have committed an offence, yes, we trap them and we wait to be able to deal with them judicially, so that the police can come and pick them up to take them to a police station. »

On the other hand, the “public order traps”, which are the most controversial: “I can decide [them] because I consider that there are disorders which are so serious that it is worth old to contain a group than to let it progress and commit new abuses. That, the Council of State did not prohibit. What he is simply asking of me is to make decisions that are proportionate and not too drastic. [The trap] must not last too long, and after a while we must let people out. »

Asked about the violent blow given to a demonstrator by a member of the police, the prefect replied that he “need to contextualize, to know in what context it happened”. “What my officials tell me is that they arrested an individual who with a cobblestone was degrading a kiosk. Several individuals violently opposed this arrest. It was in the context of this maneuver that the blow was given. »

The individual, according to Laurent Nunez, “would not have been taken care of by the Paris fire brigade, but by the police”. According to him, the man was “to his knowledge” not seriously injured and could have left freely. Laurent Nunez however announced the opening of an administrative investigation with the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN). Can an official in any setting deliver such a punch? “It’s not quite suitable, but in an emergency and when the officials are attacked in a violent way it can happen. »