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Four police officers indicted over Michel Zecler beating in Paris

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CCTV footage shows producer Michel Zecler being beaten up by police officers
CCTV footage shows producer Michel Zecler being beaten up by police officers   -   Copyright  Michel Zecler / GS Group / AFP
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Four police officers were indicted overnight on Sunday over the beating of a black music producer, the footage of which was uploaded to the internet and has provoked a national scandal.

Michel Zecler, the victim, needed stitches after the attack, which began when police launched a tear gas canister into a music studio in the 17th arrondissement in Paris, where ten people were gathered.

At a hearing that ended at 4.30 am CET on Monday morning, three of the officers involved in the incident were indicted for "willful violence by a person holding public authority".

A fourth officer has been indicted for "forgery", Paris' public prosecutor Rémy Heitz said on Sunday.

The officers have denied racially abusing Zecler during the attack, which began with a row over whether Zecler was wearing a face mask, as required by French law during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police also claimed that the studio smelled strongly of cannabis, although only a small amount of the drug was found in a bag during a later search.

Both French President Emmanuel Macron and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin have spoken out over the incident, with the latter calling for the police officers to be sacked.

Macron took to Twitter to say: "The images that we have all seen of Michel Zecler's assault are unacceptable. They shame us.”

The images drew widespread condemnation, coming just days after authorities were criticised for forcefully evacuating tents from a migrant protest in central Paris.

These two incidents happened in the wider context of a controversial “global security” law, which would make it an offence to film and identify police officers online if there is intent to harm.

Human rights groups and media organisations say the law would allow police violence to go unaccounted for.