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January 28, 2021

Class action opened over racial profiling by French police

World

January 28, 2021

PARIS: In a first for France, six nongovernmental organizations launched a class-action lawsuit Wednesday against the French government for alleged systemic discrimination by police officers carrying out identity checks.

The organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, contend that French police use racial profiling in ID checks, targeting Black people and people of Arab descent.

They served Prime Minister Jean Castex and France’s interior and justice ministers with formal legal notice of demands for concrete steps and deep law enforcement reforms to ensure that racial profiling does not determine who gets stopped by police.

The lead lawyer in the case, Antoine Lyon-Caen, said that the legal action is not targeting individual police officers but “the system itself that generates, by its rules, habits, culture, a discriminatory practice.”

“Since the shortcomings of the state (concern) a systemic practice, the response, the reactions, the remedies, the measures must be systemic,” Lyon-Caen said at a news conference with NGOs taking action.