Facies control of high school students: the State condemned for gross misconduct

The State was sentenced on Tuesday June 8 for gross misconduct during an identity check of three high school students in 2017 by police at the Gare du Nord in Paris, considered to be “Discriminatory” by the Paris Court of Appeal, according to a decision.

→ READ. Facies checks: six NGOs give formal notice to the State

In March 2017, three high school students from Épinay-sur-Seine (Seine-Saint-Denis), Ilyas, Mamadou and Zakaria, were checked on their return from a school trip to Brussels, in front of their class and passers-by. “Humiliated” by this control, only because of their origin according to them, they attack the state.

€ 1,500 in repair for each young person

“The physical characteristics of the persons checked, in particular their origin, their age and their sex, were the real cause of the check and highlight a difference in treatment suggesting the existence of discrimination”, write the judges in their judgment Tuesday. “The identity check is considered discriminatory and constitutes a serious fault of the State”, concludes the court, noting that the State has not demonstrated “The absence of difference in treatment”.

→ MAINTENANCE. Facies control: “Police action can lead to discrimination”

The court condemns the State to pay 1,500 € in compensation for moral damage for each young person. At first instance, the three high school students had been dismissed, the Paris judicial court arguing that the composition of the class, students all from “Visible minorities”, did not allow the control to be considered discriminatory.

“Selection based solely on their physical characteristics”

But the appeals court issued a “Different opinion”, as she explains in a press release: “She gauged the sample checked not against the size of the entire class, but against the entire population who, getting off the train, was on the platform and was not checked”. Therefore, it considers that there is “In the targeting of these three boys a sufficient indication of a selection based solely on their physical characteristics”.

“Judges are more and more relevant on the subject”, rejoiced the lawyer of the three high school students, Me Slim Ben Achour, who had already obtained a final conviction from the state in 2016 in a facies control case. The judges “Recall the importance of studies and statistics on the subject”, continues the lawyer, citing those of the Defender of Rights. Contacted by AFP, the state lawyer declined to comment.

At the time of the facts, the case had caused a stir and politicians had attended the hearing, such as the current regional councilor of Île-de-France Benoît Hamon (Génération s) or Éric Coquerel, deputy of Seine- Saint-Denis (LFI).


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