Created at the request of the Socialists and Allies group and chaired by Jean-Michel Fauvergue, deputy (La République en Marche) of Seine-et-Marne and former boss of the RAID, the commission relating to “the inventory, ethics, law enforcement practices and doctrines ”released its report on Wednesday January 27 before the National Assembly’s Law Commission.
Fueled by 46 hearings conducted between September and December 2020 with officials of the security forces, lawyers and magistrates, the document makes 35 recommendations. The most emblematic is to drastically limit the use of the defense ball launcher (LBD), a “Intermediate force weapon”, according to the official nomenclature, which propels rubber balls at high velocity.
The LBD had been used extensively by police called in to reinforce units specializing in maintaining order during the “yellow vests” mobilizations in 2019 and 2020. Its use, poorly or poorly mastered by some officials, would have caused a about twenty outbursts. From now on, the parliamentarians propose, its use could be exclusively reserved for the most extreme cases, risk of riot, imminent danger for demonstrators or security forces, etc.
Systematic seizure of the judge
“The use of LBD in the context of law enforcement operations does not necessarily appear relevant”, thus observe the drafters of the report, following in the footsteps of the Defender of Rights, Amnesty International and the League of Human Rights, who have long called for its ban in demonstrations.
Such a decision, if it were to see the light of day, would go beyond the recommendations of the “National law enforcement plan” (SNMO) of September 2020. This document recommends authorizing LBD shots under control conditions presented as optimal, in particular by associating the shooter and a supervisor – a generalized practice within mobile gendarmerie squadrons -, but considered as still potentially dangerous by many observers.
A drastic limitation of the LBD would go beyond the recommendations of the “National law enforcement plan” of September 2020
The parliamentary report praises, moreover, the modernization of summonses or the establishment of a “liaison device” between the police and demonstrators provided for in the SNMO, but it also points to the “Deficiencies” of the text, in particular with regard to the protection of journalists and external observers (NGOs, in particular). It evokes in addition a range of measures such as the development of the use of drones or water cannons or the limitation of the technique of the “trap”, which consists of surrounding groups of demonstrators in a determined area while leaving them a possibility to leave it by a narrow corridor fitted out within the police force.
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