French Police think they are above the law

Allegations of unlawful killings, beatings, racial abuse and excessive use of force by France’s police officers are rarely investigated effectively. “In a climate where police abuse can go unchecked, the pattern of de facto impunity with regard to law enforcement officials in France is unacceptable,” said David Diaz-Jogeix, Deputy Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International. Procedures for investigating complaints against the police in France fail to meet standards required by international law. Victims of or witnesses to police ill-treatment increasingly find themselves charged with the criminal offences of insulting or assaulting a police officer. Amnesty International’s research shows that the vast majority of complaints concern French citizens from ethnic minorities or foreign nationals. “Law enforcement officials in France perform a difficult and dangerous task, often at great personal risk. However, when police misconduct takes place it must be investigated promptly, thoroughly, independently and impartially,” David Diaz-Jogeix said. “People need to trust their police. Currently, this is frequently not the case. This will not be possible until they see that appropriate disciplinary measures are taken in time and officers responsible for criminal conduct are brought to justice.” Although not every complaint made against the police has merit, there are large discrepancies between the number of complaints made and the number of