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French cop charged with rape over baton assault

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The police station of Aulnay-sous-Bois, near Paris. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

A French police officer was charged late Sunday with the rape of a youth in a high-rise Paris suburb who was severely injured after allegedly being sodomized with a baton.

 


Three other officers were also charged with assault over the arrest of a 22-year-old man Thursday during an identity check in a multi-ethnic housing estate in Aulnay-sous-Bois, north of the capital.

The four officers have been barred from the force over the incident.

The prosecutor's office said the police stopped a group of around a dozen people "after hearing calls characteristic of lookouts at drug dealing sites".

During the operation they "attempted to arrest a 22-year-old man."

When he resisted, they used tear gas, and "one of them used an expandable baton," the prosecutor's office said, without giving details.

The young man suffered severe injuries to the anus, requiring surgery. He also suffered injuries to the head and face. A doctor declared him unfit to work for 60 days.

The Socialist politician in charge of the Seine-Saint-Denis region where Aulnay-sous-Bois is located, Stephane Troussel, said the incident raised "numerous questions."

"Although thousands of police are doing their work properly... too many arrests end in nightmares for some young people. The image of the Republic is being tarnished. We have to urgently find a solution," he said in a statement.

The affair sparked disturbances in the sprawling estate of 3,000 people Saturday evening, where a car was set alight and bus shelters were smashed.

On Sunday, riot police were sent in as backup.

French police are regularly accused of using excessive force in poor neighbourhoods against suspects of mainly African origin.