Police in Paris have arrested three men accused of impersonating officers in a video that attempted to portray real police as racists in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.
The arrests were made on Sunday, but details about the incident remained unclear. Early reports suggest that the three men dressed as officers and a director and cameraman filmed a video in which the fake police arrest a black African man in front of a supermarket for theft while the real thief, a white man, is purposely let go.
According to investigators, the uniforms used were real and were connected to a Paris police officer who is thought to have loaned them to the actors.
Loïc Walder, delegate of the UNSA Police union in charge of the 3rd district, reacted negatively to the video, saying: “Some malicious people try to use this drama to bring the French national police into disrepute. It is really important to be extra vigilant about content we view online.”
He stated that France was not the same as the United States, and added: “The national police exercise their profession with professionalism, seriousness, and discernment. The rare abuses are systematically punished.”
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Later in the week, the fact-checking website Check News, which is operated by the left-wing newspaper Liberation, spoke with the director of the film. He claimed it was meant to be a tribute to George Floyd, whose death had sparked protests and riots in Minneapolis and later across the United States.
“The goal is to send a message of peace,” the 22-year-old claimed. He insisted that the original idea was to show a man stealing inexpensive goods and showing a similar scenario to George Floyd’s death, with a police officer on the thief’s neck.
He went on to note that an extra had proposed that they change the film to show a black man arrested falsely for the crime of a white man during the filming. He states that no scenes were actually filmed due to the police intervention and subsequent arrests of the actors.
“When the police arrived, they didn’t want to know anything, and they didn’t let us explain. One of the extras also expressed himself poorly: when a police officer asked him to explain what the video was, he replied that it was a racist video,” one of the actors said.
“We wanted to explain that it was a tribute to George Floyd, but they didn’t want to hear us,” he added.
Just days after the arrests, Paris erupted into riots following a protest over George Floyd and the French case of Adama Traoré, a black man who died in police custody in 2016.
20,000 Attend Paris Anti-Police Brutality Protest That Transformed into Riots https://t.co/AsrPTQMxcA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 3, 2020