In “Quotidien”, Yann Barthès received Master Henri Leclerc, former great lawyer and honorary president of the League of Human Rights. Before introducing the lawyer, he said this: “4 deaths in 4 months for refusals to comply and a tragedy last Saturday with the death of a 21-year-old young woman who reignited the debate.”. The case concerning the 21-year-old woman took place in Paris on Saturday June 4: police fired on a car whose driver had repeatedly refused to be checked and had fled. The driver was hit by a bullet in the chest while the front passenger died following a bullet fired by a policeman and caught in the skull. After recalling that investigations were underway and that everyone was presumed innocent, Yann Barthès questioned Henri Leclerc on the refusal to comply. It is the “refusal to submit to a specific decision of the police, it is a classic criminal offence”, indicates Henri Leclerc. “Self-defence, which opposes the other side, is a notion that has been known for a very long time, which is very precise. It is the act of committing a proportionate act, but which can be very serious, when one’s own life is in danger or even that of someone else. He clarifies that the danger must be certain, that this is not a general assessment taken lightly and adds that “killing in self-defense is extremely rare.”
On the set of “Daily”, he continues and says that “we will have to determine the truth in these cases and see if there was indeed self-defense by the police”. Mr. Henri Leclerc indicates that it is necessary to hear the police and the people targeted but also to look at other elements such as surveillance videos to get an overall idea of the case. “You know, in these cases, there is an essential element: expertise. She will determine precisely in this case, if I understood correctly because we do not have all the elements, but you have 9 or 10 bullets that were fired. The experts will succeed in determining where the shots were, where the car was, what was the route of the bullets…”
The right to the presumption of self-defence
A little later, Yann Barthès specifies that since 2017, the law authorizes the police to shoot at vehicles when a person refuses to comply and that it is likely to harm their life. Henri Leclerc admits that he regretted that this law was adopted because “we don’t really understand what this danger is”. The former lawyer then declares: “You have someone who is dangerous, we know it, he is armed, he has committed criminal acts… He is running away. It can be considered that it risks being dangerous for others. It would then mean that anyone who committed serious acts would be threatened with being shot when he fled because he would be dangerous and considered dangerous by the police. I find this law a bit confusing. (…) For the rest, I continue to say that there is no presumption of legitimate… You know, this kind of complaint from the police that I cannot understand on the presumption of legitimate defense. This idea that a police officer who shot a criminal would be presumed to be in a state of self-defence is contrary to all texts. And above all, if he is presumed to be in a state of self-defense, that means that the other is presumed to be in the position of the accused, that he is already guilty, it is absurd. There is a presumption of innocence of the police, which is very important (…) as for all facts, but the one who fled is also presumed innocent.”
The viewers of “Daily” reacted a lot to these remarks. Some welcome the clarity of Henri Leclerc, others criticize him for talking about a case that he himself admits not knowing. The debate is open.