Viry-Châtillon: how the police
made up false culprits

14 minutesMediapart, 2021
Role: lead producer, video editor & designer
Lead investigators: P. Pascariello, A. Rouget Story editor: M. Hajdenberg, V. Oberti

On April 18th 2021 five youths were found guilty on appeal of an attack in 2016 in which two police officers were set ablaze when their patrol car was pelted with petrol bombs in a Paris suburb. The five were given jail terms of between six and 18 years. Eight other youths were acquitted.

The appeal verdicts, which were more lenient than the original trial in 2019, caused outrage among some politicians and led to a protest march by angry police officers.

But Mediapart can reveal that the real scandal was the way in which police detectives ran the initial investigation into the brutal attack in Viry-Châtillon. Officers truncated or cut out entire sections of what suspects said in custody. They also put pressure on them to implicate other youths from the area. Lawyers for some of those involved have described it as a “legal scandal” and formal complaints have now been made to prosecutors about the conduct of the detectives. Pascale Pascariello reports.