French police officer cleared of insulting sex crime victim

French police officer cleared of insulting sex crime victim
A police officer's vestGetty Images

A French policeman who called a female sexual assault complainant a “whore” has been let off by a police court.

The incident happened in February 2022 when the woman filed her complaint at a Paris police station.

The officer later rang her and left a voicemail message about paperwork but his insults were accidentally recorded after he thought he had hung up.

The case sparked criticism about the way victims of sexual abuse are treated by police in France.

During the hearing, the court was to asked consider that the officer made the insults to himself or to his colleagues, and that they were not aimed directly at the woman.

It was requested that the officer be acquitted or be given an exemption due to his previous exemplary record.

A female judge ruled that the comments had not amounted to a sexist insult and acquitted the officer.

The woman’s lawyer, Arie Alimi, told the AFP news agency that her client would appeal.

“The judiciary continues to protect police officers,” she said.

The officer, who was suspended for four months and then transferred, apologised to the woman during the trail – saying he was “really sorry” she heard the “unfortunate comments”.

He also said that he had to beg Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin to keep his job.

Mr Darmanin was among those to express outrage over the case, saying at the time it came to light that the officer no longer had a place in the police.

He told the Europe 1 radio station in February 2022 that the man had “smeared all the women who try to file a complaint, when it is in our best interest to tell them to come to the police stations to do so”.

Mr Darmanin also said the officer had also “dirtied and spat on the uniform of the Republic and his 250,000 other police and gendarme colleagues”.

The woman’s original assault complaint is being investigated, French media group bfmtv reported.

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By David Ryckman