Four French police officers held in custody over the beating of a Black music producer have been placed under formal criminal investigation.
Charges against the officers include the use of racist language and intentional violence by a person holding authority”, according to Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz.
Two officers will stay in custody, while the other two were placed under judicial control.
Violent clashes broke out in the French capital on Saturday during a demonstration against police violence, following President Emmanuel Macron’s comments the previous day that the images of the alleged beating brought shame to France.
The alleged victim, music producer Michel Zecler, said police jumped on him at his music studio in Paris’ 17th arrondissement on November 21.
He said he had been walking nearby without a mask, a violation of French health protocols regarding the coronavirus, and upon seeing a police car, went into his music studio to avoid being fined.
However, the police followed him inside and started to physically attack him and racially abuse him.
CCTV footage published by the news website Loopsider on Thursday shows Zecler being kicked and punched for several minutes by three officers at his studio.
A fourth is later seen throwing a tear gas canister into the building.
In addition to the “intentional violence” charge, all four officers are accused of forgery. That charge relates to the police report filed after the incident, which said “a strong smell of cannabis” had emanated from Zecler and that he resisted a search.
The decision to open a formal investigation comes amid growing concern over police violence in France.