Four officers have been charged for racist abuse and violence after they attacked music producer Michel Zecler in his studio. Two of the officers are behind bars while the other two are out conditional release.

Michel Zecler talks to the media outside IGPN (France's National Police General Inspectorate) where he arrived to press charges over his assault by police officers as he tried to enter a music studio in the 17th district of Paris on November 21, 2020.
Michel Zecler talks to the media outside IGPN (France's National Police General Inspectorate) where he arrived to press charges over his assault by police officers as he tried to enter a music studio in the 17th district of Paris on November 21, 2020. (AFP)

Four French police officers have been charged in connection with the beating of a black man in Paris, with two held in custody.

The examining magistrate charged three on Monday with "wilful violence by a person holding public authority" and "forgery".

Two of the accused – including the most senior officer, a police brigadier aged 44 – will remain behind bars but the other two were freed on conditional release, a judicial source told AFP, asking not to be named.

On Sunday, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz called for three of the officers to be also charged with using racial abuse.

He said the officers had acknowledged that their use of force was unjustified, but said they had claimed they had acted in "fear" and "panic" and had denied any use of racist abuse.

Video carried by the Loopsider website shows how music producer Michel Zecler was repeatedly beaten by three officers for several minutes and subjected to racial abuse as he tried to enter his music studio earlier this month.

The case has ramped up pressure on the government of President Emmanuel Macron to give ground on a controversial security bill.

READ MORE: French police officers to remain in custody over Black man's beating

An officer suspected of having thrown a tear gas grenade into the basement of the building where the attack on Zecler occurred was charged with "wilful violence".

The prosecution had requested pre-trial detention for the first three, and a judicial review for the fourth.

Lawyers for the group of three declined to comment after the magistrate's decision early on Monday morning.

Outrage over the assault of Zecler has become a new rallying cause for critics who accuse the police of institutionalised racism and brutality.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin is to face questions from a parliamentary commission later on Monday over the new security law, which would restrict the right of the press to publish images of on-duty police.

Rallies against the law, which mobilised tens of thousands at the weekend, ended with angry clashes in Paris on Saturday that left dozens wounded, including a Syrian photographer who has worked for AFP.

READ MORE: Protesters rally in France against Macron's controversial bill

Source: AFP