Four young men were released from prison last week after having been held on remand for six weeks even though a videotape proving their innocence was available.
The young men were accused of 'rioting'. According to the arrest report submitted by the CRS, a group of young men in the shopping centre in Faches-Thumesnil, near to Lille, insulted them. When they arrested one of these men, Sofiane, the other five pushed and screamed at the officers in an attempt to free the first man. According to the CCTV footage no one touches a CRS officer, or makes any attempt to free Sofiane. The CRS account then claims that other youths in the area begin to converge on them, appearing as if from nowhere and scuffling with the officers. The CCTV cameras show the same four young men talking to the police, with one handcuffed and pinned to the floor.
As shoppers walked past Sofiane is brutally dragged to his feet, he is visibly in pain from the armlock he is held in. The CRS claim to have been pursued at this point by a gang of youths, gesticulating and screaming. The CCTV footage shows Hocine, 25, walking towards the CRS officers and being hit with a truncheon. The police then claim a police officer was kicked in the back and that faced with a group of 12 youths one officer used his baton to protect himself as they left the area. The CCTV footage shows the same four men following the police out. According to the CRS CS gas was used at this point after another attempt to free Sofiane. CCTV footage shows Hocine being gassed while he stands several feet away, his hands in his pockets.
Of the four men: Alexandre was arrested for insulting behaviour while on his way to the police station to try to find out what had happened to Sofiane. Bernard and Hocine were arrested later, also for insulting behaviour, after a minor traffic accident.
The Defence Lawyer stated to the court that the police submitted deliberately false reports, reports which were contradicted by physical evidence that they had in their possession. Of these three men, held for six weeks for crimes they did not commit, three lost their jobs as a result. The State prosecutor has announced an enquiry into the events and has stated that he will require an explanation from the police authorities.