Parisiens are outraged after a video was posted on Facebook showing a triple-amputee man, seemingly the victim of police brutality while sitting on a train platform.
The video, shot at the Paris Gare de Lyon railway station, shows the man – who has no legs and only one arm – sitting with his prosthetic limbs and clothing scattered around him following a police search. The video was posted by Jean-Didier Bakekolo, who witnessed the incident on May 2.
The video begins with the police officers walking away from the triple-amputee, who is left sitting on the ground with his prosthetic legs removed.
Bakekolo can be heard shouting in French to the police officers, “Officer, officer, we need you. Officer, turn back please. This is humiliation, it is not normal.”
The video then shows the victim, seated on the railway platform and struggling to put his prosthetic limbs back on.
Bakelolo told the French news service, France 24 that he found himself witnessing a police search of exceptional brutality.
He said the officers forced the man to undress, leaving him struggling to put back his prosthetic legs and was “ill-treated to the point of being forced to sit on the ground partially undressed.”
— Ace News Services (@AceNewsServices) May 6, 2016
The victim, later identified as François Bayga, reportedly leads an active life despite his physical disabilities. According to photos on his Facebook page, he enjoys playing rugby and is a member of the wheelchair rugby club CAPSAAA-PARIS.
When interviewed by the French media, Bayga explained he was traveling from the Gare de Lyon station to the Gare du Nord when he encountered the three police officers.
“They demanded my papers and I took off my back pack and showed them,” he said. “I gave them my telephone, my medical card and my membership card at my wheelchair rugby club.”
As reported by The Local, the documents weren’t apparently enough for the police, so Bayga told them he has made a formal request for the right to live in France but is still awaiting confirmation. Reportedly they then accused the triple-amputee of stealing his phone and Bayga began to get angry. It was at that moment that one of the policemen pushed him up against the wall and pulled at his leg.
“I explained them several times it was prosthetic…They insisted on searching me. I felt completely humiliated,” he said.
As can be seen from the video footage, the police officers then appear to leave Bayga without helping him to replace his prosthetic limbs.
The video of the incident has received over 195,000 views since it was posted on Facebook with many users expressing their outrage at what they describe to be police brutality, evident from the footage.
Many commented, “Shame on police!” Another user said, “Shame on arrogant and insensitive men in Police uniform,” and many referred to the incident as being racist in several different languages.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, France’s official ombudsman, Jacques Toubon announced they were aware of the incident and that there would be an inquiry.
— Défenseur des droits (@Defenseurdroits) May 4, 2016
According to the French media, the police had their own version of the incident, with a source close to the case saying Bayga was “was urinating on a trash can on the platform” before being confronted by officers.
The source said the man started arguing, so the police officers decided to conduct an inspection and were surprised to feel a hard object when touching his legs. They said the individual then dropped his pants to show them his prosthetic legs.
[Photo via Facebook video]