On June 20, a CRS received two slaps from a colleague who told him “I don’t like Arabs” in front of witnesses, during a drink at the barracks. The incident gave rise to a complaint and an administrative investigation, which had been slow for four months.
On June 20, 2022, the CRS 60, based near Avignon (Vaucluse), is traveling to Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin). Taking advantage of a day off in the barracks that welcomes them, around twenty police officers organize a farewell party. All afternoon, they share a barbecue in joy and good humor.
Around 6 p.m., Chief Sergeant Stéphane V., 50, joined the festivities even though he was not invited. An hour and a half later, he approaches Brigadier Kamel F., 34, seated with his colleagues. A dozen CRS are still on site and witness a striking scene.
Two slaps in the face
According to the account of Kamel F. in his complaint, supported by several of his colleagues, Stéphane V. begins by asking him how long he has been working in this company, hears the answer (four years) then points out to him that he is “a bitos”, that is to say a “new”, according to a pejorative term from military jargon. Then, without further ado, he slaps him twice in the face and adds: “I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t like Arabs. »
Three colleagues of Kamel F., direct witnesses of the facts, confirm in all respects his account with Mediapart. “We were all taken aback,” says the first. “We remained a little stupid, (Stephane V.) was absolutely not laughing”, adds the second, for whom “this scene does not have to happen in our institution”. “My colleague Kamel reacted with dignity, he showed composure” says a third.
Several CRS intervene
All describe in the same terms the reaction of the victim, who never drinks alcohol and is therefore in his normal state. Pale, Kamel F. replies to the brigadier-chief that he does not have to say that and that he does not wish to have any contact with him in the future. Then he gets up to leave, while Stéphane V. encourages him to ” break” and continues to approach him as if to fight. Several CRS then intervene between the two men, for fear that they will come to blows. Stéphane V.’s t-shirt is torn during this action, but no blow is struck.
Company management is notified immediately. Very quickly, several officials send their reports to the commander, to detail what they saw in anticipation of the administrative investigation.
A complaint lodged at the Strasbourg police station
Two days after the events, Kamel F. will file a complaint with the Strasbourg police station for “racist violence” (without incapacity for work) and “non-public insult of a racist nature”. “I tell you that emotionally I am flabbergasted, shocked and traumatized by the violence of the words and actions of (Stéphane V.)”, he confides to the peacekeeper responsible for hearing him. Asked by Mediapart to find out what follow-up had been given to this complaint, the Strasbourg prosecutor’s office did not respond despite several reminders.
As part of the administrative investigation opened four months ago and managed at the local level, only two of the CRS present that day have been interviewed at this stage. Neither the victim nor the author were heard. Stéphane V. and Kamel F., members of two different sections within the company, continue to meet regularly when traveling. During the “cohesion day” organized a few weeks ago, they even played football against each other.
Asked about the progress of the administrative investigation and any precautionary measures taken with regard to Stéphane V., the communication service of the national police indicated that it would make “no comment”. According to the testimonies collected by Mediapart, Stéphane V. was not subject to any suspension.
“Kamel is still struggling to recover”
Shocked by “injustice” of the situation and “inertia” of their hierarchy, the three witnesses contacted by Mediapart believe that the case was not taken seriously enough. They want to express their “solidarity” with Kamel F. in the face of this racist behavior. “We touched on his identity, his culture, his history and his parents”, advances one of them, for whom “it is not tolerable in 2022”.
“Kamel has not been well for several weeks and he is still struggling to recover,” adds the second. “If Chief Sergeant V. had been taken by the drink, he could have said afterwards that his words had exceeded his thoughts. But he didn’t even bother to apologize. “Things are not progressing and Kamel is disappointed, disgusted. He felt protected neither by the institution nor by his union. He realized that we took him for an idiot, ”concludes the third.
According to the testimonies collected by Mediapart, the reports sent to Unit SGP Police, of which Kamel F. is a member, did not give rise to any reaction from the union, of which Stéphane V. is also a member. Alain Vastel, CRS national secretary within the SGP Police Unit, however, assures that his organization has requested “the change of scenery of the administrative investigation at the zonal level, to avoid any bias”.
Regarding the facts, ” serious if they are proven”, Alain Vastel considers that they “deserve at least to be the subject of investigations” but recalls that he “has no information on a procedure in the course of treatment”. He therefore limits himself to highlighting the values of his union and his profession: “The R of CRS is for “republican”, and that does not allow for the slightest ambiguity. »
Weird posts on Facebook
According to the CRS interviewed, Kamel F. is a “very discreet” civil servant within the company. Conversely, Stéphane V. has the reputation of being loud and easily aggressive.
His Facebook profile, opened under his real name, questions. On August 7, 2014, Stéphane V. posted a portrait of Adolf Hitler, without any comment. The image is a montage, created by Polish photographer Andrzej Dragan in 2008. As part of an advertising campaign, he depicted several historical figures, with aged features. Originally, the portrait of Adolf Hitler was accompanied by the slogan “Fortunately, no one lives as long as our batteries”, but this ironic mention does not appear in the image posted by the CRS. The publication remained on his Facebook account until after the incident with Kamel F., as shown in a screenshot seen by Mediapart. It has since been deleted.
Others remain visible to this day. In 2015, Stéphane V. changed his profile photo several times: a statuette of a Templar (a Christian knight at the time of the Crusades) attracted some comments, to which he replied: “You know that we are at war!!! Here on the old continent. He then opted for a boar’s head, then for a Marianne surrounded by a blue-white-red flame (three days after the attacks in Paris).
On May 3, 2021, Stéphane V. reshared the post of another user, who wrote: “In France it is apparently easier to sweeten the retirement of a soldier who has signed a platform than the allowances of a jihadist who has left. train and fight in Syria. Finally, on an undetermined date, the CRS shares its opinion on the Puy du Fou after its visit: “Always as good. […] Proud to be FRENCH and of our park!!! Well done Vendée. »
“I will not give you any information”
Reached by Mediapart, Stéphane V. indicates that he has “nothing to say” about the facts of which he is accused by Kamel F., or on his Facebook publications. “I will not give you any information. If I need to talk to someone, I will direct myself to the people I need to talk to, ”he said before ending the telephone conversation. A few hours later, by SMS, the brigadier-in-chief “confirms that (he) cannot answer [nos] Questions. (His) administration (him) reminded that a police officer is subject to reserve rights (sic) when a procedure is in progress”.
1er November, Mediapart revealed the contents of a report on “the fight against discrimination in the action of the security forces”, given to Gérald Darmanin and Éric Dupond-Moretti in July 2021. The ethics officer of the Ministry of the Interior was surprised in particular by “the passivity of the hierarchy” in certain cases of internal discrimination within the police or the gendarmerie, giving rise to an insufficient response ” even though the behavior of the agent could have had psychological repercussions for some of these colleagues”.
The incident that occurred in Strasbourg perfectly illustrates the institutional nonchalance that can surround racist behavior, including when it has been denounced by the victim, corroborated by his colleagues and brought to justice.