Theo, 21, was raped during a police check in the Rose des Vents neighborhood of Aulnay-sous-Bois. No summary trial for the cops involved in the rape. They were just relieved from active duty… The police internal investigation section is trying to save the day by speaking of an “accident”, of involuntary rape, as if a stick can be inserted 10 centimeters deep accidentally.
Who you are determines how you are judged
At the same time, the protest demonstrations in the area were followed by the arrest and summary trial of several young people. They were convicted and put in jail, without any real investigation. Nothing out of the ordinary. As for police officers, those are rarely convicted. The officers investigated after the death of Zied and Bouna, electrocuted by a high voltage transformer in Clichy-sous-Bois in 2005, were eventually released. Last July, after the death of Adama Traoré during questioning by the police force, his family was refused any real investigation into the cause of his death.
In this situation, no surprise that young people rebel and ask questions
Youths in working class neighborhoods are constantly aggravated by police checks, racial profiling, and violent and humiliating behaviours by the cowboys of the so-called response team. So they rebel, not accepting the two-tier justice system. TV news showed moms demonstrating in Aulnay to protest against police harassing their kids. In the last few days, demonstrations have spread to many cities. On February 11th, 2000 demonstrators of all ages rallied in front of Bobigny’s high court. They were met by a provocative police force that pushed for a confrontation.
That’s the government’s strategy: on one side, a hypocritical Hollande humbly goes to Theo’s bedside, with a bunch of photographers; on the other side, the police is ordered to provoke and repress the demonstrators.
His little show cannot make us forget that he and his government just passed a law allowing police officers to use their weapons beyond “self-defense”, a concept that already proved hard to check in practice.
This is not a mistake, but a system
Only the fear of a general revolt in working class suburbs, like in 2005, which could affect the presidential election, explains the politicians’ fake compassion for Theo. But they brush it off as “this is an unfortunate accident that must not discredit the whole police force”. No, this is not an “unfortunate accident”! This is the daily routine of policing working class neighborhoods. This is so true that a member of a police union did not hesitate to say on TV that calling Theo “bamboula” was still “more or less alright”. That’s a strong admission of the racist insults regularly used by his colleagues.
The people who demonstrated against the Work Law a few months ago also know the reality of police methods, ordered from above. They experienced extreme police brutality, just because they opposed the government’s policy.
We can only wish for the crime committed against Theo to become a major topic of political indignation during the presidential election, and for the demonstrations to become larger and spread over the country.