The policeman behind the LBD shooting at Hedi in Marseille was released on Friday, September 1. What is he at risk now?

[Updated September 1, 2023 at 3:06 p.m.] The police officer of the anti-crime brigade (BAC), Christophe I., suspected of having exercised heavy violence against Hedi at the beginning of July in Marseille, was released this Friday, September 1, says his lawyer. He had been in pre-trial detention for more than a month after the LBD shooting hit Hedi, 21, a catering worker. The young man had been shot in the temple on the night of July 1 to 2 on the sidelines of the riots caused by the death of Nahel, before being violently beaten. Part of his skull had to be amputated. The placement of the policeman in pre-trial detention had angered the unions.

The police officer accused of the violence had denied being behind the shooting of LBD, until his confession during a hearing in court on August 4. He is now “placed under judicial supervision”, with a ban on practicing, his lawyer told AFP. The policeman also has a “prohibition of contact with the victim, a prohibition of contact with the co-authors or accomplices and a prohibition of contact with the members of the group intervening on the evening of the facts”, reports Franceinfo. The victim’s lawyer expressed Hedi’s pain at the announcement of this news: “Hedi has collapsed”, he transmitted to France 3 Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur before explaining that this discount free is “no surprise”. The judicial investigation continues its course.

“Here are now eight magistrates who have looked into this case and who have found the necessary elements to detain this gentleman. This reveals above all the need to protect the progress of the investigation. The police must assume this incarceration, which will in the sense of justice,” said Jacques-Antoine Preziosi, Hedi’s lawyer. The attorney for C.I., the incarcerated police officer, has yet to make a public statement following the verdict. The prosecution also partially dismissed the request for judicial review of one of the three other officials of the BAC (Anti-Crime Squad) implicated in this case of police violence. He will be able to return to his job but without being on public roads.

In order to facilitate his release, the imprisoned policeman admitted to having fired LBD at Hedi. He explained his action by the fact that this young man would have “armed his arm with a closed fist to throw an object”. The Advocate General was not convinced by this testimony: “the statements of the police officer, who admitted the facts, give “a perspective”, but the risk of “fraudulent consultation” must be taken into account. Pre-trial detention is required in order to “preserve the information until the interrogation” according to the AFP.

According to Article 222-12 of the Penal Code, the police officer charged in the Hedi case faces between seven and ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 to 150,000 euros. Among the previous cases of police officers tried for LBD shootings, that of a police officer tried before the Paris Criminal Court for having injured a “yellow vest” by shooting from a defense bullet launcher during a demonstration on 2 February 2019. The man had been fined 1,500 euros. During his trial in November 2021, the prosecution had requested a six-month suspended prison sentence against the police officer. The plaintiff suffered injuries to the lower face and abdomen.

Another example with facts dating back to July 8, 2009. Police officers intervened to repel demonstrators gathered in front of a squat in Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis. The overly muscular use of the LBD on one of them had become a symbol of the violence of the police. The police officer involved had been found guilty of the shooting and sentenced on appeal in 2018 to 18 months in prison suspended and 24 months prohibited from carrying a weapon.

Since July 20, a police officer belonging to the Marseille Anti-Crime Brigade (BAC) has been in pre-trial detention following accusations of violence brought by Hedi, a 22-year-old young man. This affair aroused keen public interest and highlighted certain tensions within the police. The facts with which the police officer is accused concern violence in meetings by a person holding public authority leading to Total Incapacity for Work (ITT) of more than eight days, with the use or threat of a weapon. Of the four police officers indicted in this case, three of them ultimately admitted to having used violence on Hedi. These acts were filmed by video surveillance cameras, leaving little room for doubt as to the veracity of the victim’s allegations.

Hedi, supported by direct witnesses and elements brought to La Provence, described precisely the violence he allegedly suffered that day. Testimonies supported by a recent video published by Konbini, which helped to strengthen the credibility of the victim’s allegations. This visual evidence had thus put in difficulty the version defended by the incriminated police officers.

If the facts took place on the sidelines of a night of riots in Marseille, Hedi and his friend did not participate in the urban violence according to the young man victim of violence. They were content to follow a helicopter flying over the city of Marseille when they came across four or five BAC police officers in civilian clothes, but carrying a weapon in their belts, a flash-ball around their necks and equipped with truncheons, near Cours Lieutaud . “We said good evening to them, but we quickly understood that they were angry and closed to discussion,” Hedi added in his testimony.

When questioned by the police about what they were doing, Hedi and his friend ran off, but the former was hit by a flashball which pinned him to the ground. The two young men were then targeted, the police allegedly attacked them with “batons and flash-ball shots in the head”, at close range, according to statements by Hedi’s lawyer, Maître Jacques Preziosi , reported by France Bleu. The toll is heavy for Hedi: an intracerebral hematoma, a broken jaw and loss of vision in his left eye. Left on the ground, Hedi said he found the strength to move and found himself in front of a grocery store, whose manager drove him to the hospital. Arrived in serious condition, he is called “the miracle” by the medical team.

The BAC official placed in pre-trial detention is suspected of police violence. More specifically, the Marseille public prosecutor’s office opened a judicial investigation for “violence in a meeting by a person holding public authority resulting in an ITT of more than eight days with the use or threat of a weapon”.

While four of the eight police officers initially placed in police custody were released, the other four were indicted and the official in question was placed in pre-trial detention by decision of the judge, who considered that the gravity of the facts was such as to deprive him of his liberty pending further legal proceedings. The three other agents are under judicial supervision with a “ban on entering into contact with the co-perpetrators, the victim and the other protagonists in the case and a ban on exercising the professional activity of a police officer”. A new investigation was opened on July 24 by the Marseille prosecutor’s office to seek to establish the responsibility of Marseille police after the complaint filed by Hedi, reports La Provence.

The incarceration of the Marseille police officer on July 20 was the trigger for the ongoing protest movement within the police. Anger such that it pushes certain officers to desert police stations or provide only the minimum service. After a week of silence, the Minister of the Interior finally spoke with the police unions on Thursday July 27. A meeting that “satisfied” the centrals who all described a minister “attentive” to their demands and “rather open to all discussions” according to Grégory Joron, general secretary of the SGP Police-UFO Unit union, contacted by BFMTV .