The court has sentenced the State for “gross negligence” in five cases of “facies checks”. “A first in France”, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs, who announced the news to the press.
The state was ordered by the Court of Appeal of Paris to pay 1,500 euros in damages each case, said Mr. Felix de Belloy, one of two lawyers defending 13 blacks or Arabs men who denounced identity checks they considered discriminatory. For five of them, the court ruled that such checks were “not justified,” they “were very discriminatory,” the lawyer added.
At first instance, in October 2013, the court had dismissed the plaintiffs, saying they had not proved discrimination.
Aged 18 to 35, students or employees and no criminal record, the complainants for “common feature (…) their origin or skin color, “had summarized their other lawyer, Ms. Slim Ben Achour, in February at the appeal hearing. All had reported abusive controls, sometimes associated with touching, the marks of contempt or familiarity. They demanded 10,000 euros in damages each.
The Defender had supported their approach, pleading for that identity controls are “sufficiently regulated” and provide “guarantees” against abuse. The institution’s lawyer had also argued (…) it was up to the State to demonstrate that there was no discriminatory treatment and non-citizens to prove the opposite. ”