Ordinary police intervention for extraordinary violence.
The tragic death of Eric Masson, 36, father of two, shot dead Wednesday in the city center of Avignon (Vaucluse) when the sergeant had been sent with his crew to a point of deal, symbolizes violence increase suffered by the police in their daily work.
Although it is the act of a minority, violence against the police has reached record levels in the past five years.
They are police officers burned in Viry-Châtillon in 2016, two police officers wounded by gunshot in Herblay-sur-Seine (Val d'Oise), last October, or acts of terrorism - murder of a couple of police officers in Magnanville in 2016, the Champs-Elysées attack in April 2017 and very recently the terrorist attack in Rambouillet during which an administrative officer from the police station was slaughtered.
Not to mention the repeated mortar fire against the facades of suburban police stations or police patrols.
To read also "We feel abandoned": in Avignon, the tongues are loosened after the death of a police officer
The police have become targets. In 2020, seven police officers died on mission and 5,433 were injured. "The state no longer protects its police officers," said Frédéric Lagache, general delegate of the Alliance union. This growing unease in the police is an angle of attack for the opposition, two months before the regional elections. On Wednesday evening, the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin placed the tragedy in Avignon in the context of "the fight against drug trafficking", which he made his priority and which he equates to "a war". “This war, we are waging it, thanks to soldiers, […] the police and gendarmes of France. Today one of the soldiers died as a hero, ”he declared.
In recent months, the pressure exerted by the police on the traffickers has greatly increased. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 1,700 deal points have been dismantled since January 1 out of the 3,952 identified throughout France. “For 20 years that I am in the narcotics, it is the first time that there is such harassment on the points of deal. We carry out two operations per week, which generates tension among the dealers, which is already exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic ”, confirms Fabien
(the first name has been changed),
a 45-year-old police officer, stationed in a city in the south of France.
Today, one of the soldiers in the war we wage against drugs has died in combat, a hero.
We mourn him and think about his family, his two children.
This fight against drugs, we will continue it and we will win it.
- Gerald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) May 5, 2021
In medium-sized towns like Avignon, new bosses have settled down and no longer hesitate to use the methods of the big mobs. “We are dealing with increasingly young and often inexperienced traffickers who have access to weapons. Today we do not dismantle a point of deal without falling on weapons of war ”, notes Fabien. The traffickers kill each other to appropriate territory, recover stolen drugs or dethrone their own boss ... And "shoot the police as if they were a rival gang. "
"For them, the life of a cop does not count", explains Olivier
(the first name has been changed)
, 40, a police officer in a police station in the suburbs of Paris.
During a recent operation on the sidelines of a point of deal, the forty-something says he suffered the thunder of kids aged 11-12.
“They looked at me with black eyes, which made my blood run cold, then fled behind a bush from which they insulted me copiously and threw stones.
I know in a few years they won't hesitate to shoot me.
Today we inherit delinquents whose parents are already thugs, ”says Olivier.
"He spat in my face and punched me twice"
According to Alain Bauer, France is bogged down in endemic violence, of which the assassination of the policeman is the ultimate expression. "The tragedy in Avignon is part of a generalized, continuous and accelerated degradation of
», Observes the criminologist. To measure the temperature of violence in our society, this professor at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts has created a barometer called "homicidity" which brings together six indexes of criminal qualifications ranging from "settling of scores between criminals" to "voluntary assault and battery followed. of death ". Aggregates accounted for sparingly by the Ministry of the Interior but which, brought together under a single entity, take an alarming turn: “homicidities” have jumped by 90% in 20 years, with a historic peak of 4472 incidents listed in 2020 .
"That a drug dealer can kill a policeman for a bar of hash or a dose, which would not have taken him to prison, says something other than the simple fight against narcotics. This is part of the ordinary anti-fickle hatred and the reduction of violence, ”observes David Le Bars, general secretary of the union of commissioners. This situation of “hatred and violence” towards the police is said to be maintained by an alleged laxity of justice. Charges reinforced by the 8 recent acquittals (out of 13 accused) pronounced during the appeal trial of the attacks on police officers in Viry-Châtillon (Essonne). "The magistrates live in an ivory tower, they are not receptive to the violence that we are subjected to", protested Olivier. “One day during police custody, I brought a glass of water to a suspect who did not want to return to his cell.To thank him, he spat in my face and punched me twice in the face. A repeat offender, the guy took three months in prison and a 400 euros fine that he never paid because he was insolvent… ”
In the spiral of violence against them, the police point to the responsibility of certain political parties, artists or intellectuals who would systematically accuse the police of racism and violence while the abuses are the fault of a minority. "Some people deliberately mix things up and create a nauseating climate between us and the population" laments Fabien.