A young man by the name of Theo has alleged that French police officers beat him up during an arrest and raped him several times with a police baton.
The incident was so brutal and violent that blood ended up all over the floor and walls while he was in custody.
In response to the allegations, an internal investigation by the police did not deny that the man was sodomised, however they have claimed that the incident was merely an “accident”.
Widespread protests and riots have since spread across the Paris suburb where it had happened.
The youth worker required surgery for severe anal injuries after he was allegedly assaulted with a truncheon and he also suffered head trauma.
A video of the scene shows a policeman “applying a truncheon blow horizontally across the buttocks with a truncheon” and Theo’s trousers “slipped down on their own”, according to the internal police inquiry.
After a week of nightly clashes between officers and angry residents, Agence France-Presse reported, Saturday’s huge protest began peacefully outside a courthouse in Bobigny, north of the capital.
Demonstrators carried signs — “Police rape,” read one, the outlet reported — and smaller groups assembled in other suburbs.
Théo, the victim, was still in a hospital during the chaos, AFP reported, after an operation for severe injuries to his anus.
He was covered in blood when he arrived at an emergency room Feb. 2.
Doctors discovered that his primary injury had been caused by a police truncheon that had been forced inside his rectum during a violent encounter with officers in Aulnay-sous-Bois, a suburb north of Paris.
Théo, a 22-year-old French youth worker whose last name has not been released, said that the injury — which required major surgery to repair — was inflicted intentionally and that he was the victim of a horrific sexual assault.
Officers reportedly high-fived each other and had a smoke afterwards.
More than a week later, investigators have reached an entirely different conclusion: The violent sodomy was accidental and occurred when the officer’s expandable baton happened to slip into the victim’s anus by itself.
According to the French edition of the Huffington Post, although the police noted that the violent encounter was “very serious,” the investigation by France’s national police determined that the incident was “not a rape” because of the “unintentional character” of the penetration.
Regardless of the bizarre nature of the defense, Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux announced on Sunday that one officer faces aggravated rape charges and three others have been charged with aggravated assault, according to the Independent. The men deny the charges and have been suspended from the police force.
Théo said the incident began after he saw an officer slap someone and he approached a group of police, according to the Huffington Post. He claims that the group took him around a corner and attacked.
“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,” he said, according to the Huffington Post. “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,” he added. “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.”
During the encounter, Théo said, officers spit on him and called him names such as “Negro” and “bitch.”
But police claim that during the interaction, Théo’s pants “slipped down on their own.”
Following the widespread riots across the city, Theo himself appealed for calm from his hospital bed.
He has subsequently been visited by President François Hollande, who tweeted that “Théo reacted with dignity and responsibility.”
Theo told the French news station BFMTV: “I would like to ask the residents of my neighborhood to calm down. 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. Justice will do its job.”
Bruno Beschizza, the conservative mayor of Aulnay-sous-Bois, has described Théo as a “respectable” young man whose family has been “psychologically destroyed” by his suffering.
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