French Police Raid Housing Projects

The French police waited nearly four months before following up on the November raids in which gangs of immigrant youth rioted against alleged police brutality and harassment of Muslim and black skinned young people. Last weekend’s police raids resulted in detention of more than 33 young people who were believed to have instigated the riots. The November riots began when two boys were killed when their motorcycle hit a police car. The police claimed it was an accident but many residents blamed them for the deaths. most of those in the riots were Arab or black skinned Africans.

The French police had four months in which to attempt other approaches in dealing with gang members. There were opportunities to meet quietly with gang leaders and discuss ways of avoiding confrontations or explore job opportunites for young people. An effective police has trained staff who work with gang leaders, develop trust and work on long term solutions. A police raid four months later whose only goal is arresting gang leaders is a guarantee there will be future riots.

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