As France celebrated Bastille Day on the 14th of July, a video of a police car stopped near an unidentified man in the northeastern Parisian suburb of Le Bourget triggered wide criticism online, as viewers demanded an immediate investigation into the matter.
The video which was shared online after being broadcast on France 3 TV channel showed a police car stopping near a sidewalk in Le Bourget after midnight before a member of the force used a spray to gas a "homeless" man walking down the street while holding a number of bags.
According to witnesses, the incident took place in the early hours of July 15, 2022, and it came minutes after passersby reported the homeless man for throwing water bottles at them. Then the police car showed up and sprayed the man with what is believed to be pepper gas, before leaving him unattended.
Translation: "Police violence: A homeless man was gassed on 07/15 around 4 a.m. by police at Le Bourget, on the sidelines of the festivities. The video has been verified and journalist @marionhuguet21 spoke with the witness who filmed the scene."
As the police car left the scene, the man was caught on camera crying out of pain in the street and calling for help.
Going viral online, the video drew the attention of thousands of French commentators who condemned the police's actions toward the man who did not pose a threat to its force and "could have been dealt with less violently", according to some online users.
Story is; Le Bourget, Paris region. Man was reportedly mentally disturbed, throwing things at passersby; cyclist reported him. Police showed up and gassed him then left him there unassisted. Witness filmed from apartment, then went down to assist. Mayor demands investigation.— Philo Girard (@GirardPhilo) July 15, 2022
An innocent man got pepper sprayed on his entire body by two French policemen “out of fun,” leaving him to suffer extreme pain!!— The chariot (@The1chariot) July 16, 2022
Ironically, Those are the same people who lecture us about HUMAN RIGHTS!!!!! And that our culture is not as civilized as them!! https://t.co/oIVPY0GM1Z
Many social media people then demanded an immediate investigation and an end to such violations by police forces in France.
In response, French officials announced that an investigation into the incident was underway, promising to reveal conclusions as soon as they are reached.
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