In a recent trial in #France, #police officers involved in a 2017 incident that left Theo Luhaka disabled received mixed sentences, sparking controversy and activist anger. Luhaka had suffered severe injuries during a stop-and-search in Aulnay-sous-Bois, including deep anal injuries, from a police baton blow delivered by Marc-Antoine Castelain, who received a 12-month suspended prison sentence. His colleagues, Jeremie Dulin and Tony Hochart, received three-month suspended terms, much to the dissatisfaction of activists who had called for harsher penalties.
"I felt like I was raped," Luhaka told the court on Monday.
Despite the severity of Luhaka's injuries, the court rejected the charge of "deliberate violence resulting in permanent mutilation or infirmity." Luhaka, now 29, has become a symbol of alleged heavy-handed police tactics in French high-rise housing estates.
While some considered the guilty verdict a "victory," activists argued that it sent a message that police could escape serious consequences for their actions. SOS Racisme called for reforms in the interior ministry, attributing the attack on Luhaka to a "law and order philosophy based on confrontation."
This case of police brutality was unusual in being tried in a court rather than through internal disciplinary proceedings. Initially, Luhaka had accused Castelain of rape with a baton, but prosecutors couldn't find enough evidence to support the charge.
News of the incident gained widespread attention after security camera footage was shared online, adding to the ongoing concerns about allegations of police brutality and racism in France, with previous incidents sparking protests and unrest.
The fight against police brutality and systemic racism remains a pressing
reminder that the fight for justice and equality in policing must continue, and we stand in solidarity with those who demand change.