His open letter is making the rounds on social media. And his colleagues from the Bordeaux bar give him their support. The young lawyer denounces all these moments when he was arrested, checked, for no other apparent reason than his skin color.
“Today, May 12, 2022, I am at my 3rd highway check of the year”. This is how this open letter begins. Simon Takoudju, lawyer at the Bordeaux bar, is the author. There follows a long list of controls to which he says he was subjected.
“The first of the year for no reason, well if… because “when you see (me), you don’t know who you’re dealing with”. A customs officer threw his harrow under my tires as I drove along. Result two tires (which were new for two weeks…) to be changed at my expense. The captain apologized to me because he witnessed the scene. I sent a refund letter. Dead letter”. Simon Takoudju does not systematically file a complaint. And for good reason, the rare times he did, the police or gendarmerie never followed up.
These checks by the police have had an impact on his professional life. “ Once I was late for my accountant, another I had to reschedule an appointment “, he says. “ And then when you come back from an audience in Agen or Mont-de-Marsan, in the state that you imagine, that you have a long way to go, you only want to arriving at your office to take stock of the current files, not to be confronted once again with what I would call stupidity “.
Does he have the feeling that this type of checks are more and more frequent? ” I do not know “, he answers. “Since my adolescence, it’s not every day but it’s regular. Now when I see a roadblock I prepare myself”. When I tell them I’m a lawyer, I don’t always do it because I don’t want to use my profession. Their attitude changes immediately. The proof, once they even ended up escorting me to the hospital where I had to go after an abusive control “.
My mother is white, she has never been controlled in her life.
This is the reason why the young lawyer, “thinks of others”, “of those who undergo much more checks than me because they live in so-called sensitive neighborhoods”.
Simon Takoudju raises another point, that of “the recurrence which ends up bearing fruit”. ” The more you get checked, the more likely you are to be in a position to have something to blame yourself for. So, in the end, it becomes productive on the part of the authorities because it will prove the figures and statistics right.
This open letter posted on LinkedIn was intended for his colleagues, and it toured the bars of France. Simon Takoudju has received many messages of support. “ Facial crime is not a myth “replied one of them. “ You are right, it is a reality, I have the “good profile” and I have never been checked… “. Or, ” I discover your mail and honestly I hallucinate “. Another remembers when he lived “in Paris and in the Maréchaux tram, only blacks were checked, and I not once! “.
Some of his colleagues confide in him to have experienced the same scenes and testify: “ Your message reminds me, once again, that the dignity of my brothers and of all so-called “racialized” people requires that we fight! “.
If the lawyer pushed this rant within his profession it is above all to testify to a fed up, but also for “that we be vigilant”. ” As lawyers sometimes we are faced with people who put forward abusive controls, ” he explains. “We tend to say to ourselves that there is no smoke without fire and we tend to put these police abuses into perspective. And with this letter, I want to say to my colleagues: “be careful, there is a reality, when you are of color, you are more arrested “.