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France erupts in protest after police say sodomy of young black man was an accident

Police say the baton accidentally slipped into the man's rectum.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Feb 13, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 12:23 am CDT

Days after French police claimed that the sodomy of a black man with a police baton was accidental, thousands of protesters marched in the Paris suburbs on Saturday as some burned cars and destroyed public property, according to the Washington Post.

The battle between concerned citizens and police has been brewing ever since Feb. 2 when a man named Théo showed up at an emergency room in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois covered in blood and needing major surgery after a baton was forced into his rectum during an encounter with officers.

Théo, a 22-year-old youth worker who reportedly has no criminal history, said the police had intentionally sexually assaulted him, but police investigators say a police baton accidently slipping into the man’s anus.

On Saturday, protesters took to the streets carrying signs—one read “police rape”—and, according to the Post, at least 37 were arrested as a result. Though the protest reportedly began peacefully, it soon turned chaotic as police fired tear gas into the crowd while the protesters threw objects at officers.

Said police in a statement, via Al Jazeera: “Several vehicles, including a media truck, were set on fire and police officers had to intervene to rescue a young child trapped in a burning vehicle.”

On Sunday, the Independent reported the interior minister said one police officer had been charged with aggravated rape and three others with aggravated assault.

This was Théo’s account of what happened during his encounter with police, according to the Independent.

“I didn’t try to run away. I told the officers: ‘You’ve torn my bag,’ to which they replied that they didn’t give a damn. They all tried to grab me. I asked them why they were doing this, but they just continued to throw insults at me. …

“He told me to put my hands behind my back. They put handcuffs on me and then they told me to sit down. They sprayed tear gas in my face and then I had a pain in my buttocks. My trousers were lowered. I was in serious pain.”

Théo also claimed officers spit on and hurled racial epithets at him. But he also asked for calm from his protesting supporters, saying, “I ask them to stop the hostilities because I love my city and I want to find it the way I left it.”

“Violence is not the way to support me,” he said. “Justice will do its job.”

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*First Published: Feb 13, 2017, 12:33 pm CST