By: Sam Doak
July 7 2023
This video was recorded during protests carried out by police officers in 2020.
On June 27, 2023, 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk was fatally shot by a police officer in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre. Footage of the teenager’s death quickly circulated online, sparking widespread protests against police violence. In the days that followed, scenes of disorder were seen across the country, with protests and riots occurring in numerous towns and cities.
In this context, a video has circulated that some have claimed proves authorities surrendered to protesters and rioters. It shows a line of uniformed and non-uninformed police officers throwing their handcuffs and badges onto the ground. One TikTok user that posted this clip commented, “The cops literally surrendered in France today. Like the riots just took it to another level of craziness. Show support for France.” Text included in the video, which received over 108,000 likes, indicated that the video was supposedly filmed on July 4, 2023.
Despite many social media users seemingly believing the narrative described in this video, Logically Facts has determined that the underlying footage predates the recent unrest in France by a significant amount of time.
A search for the term “French police handcuffs protest” on Twitter reveals that the footage in question was posted by the outlet TRT World on June 12, 2020, with the caption, “French police threw their handcuffs on the floor to protest against a new ban on the controversial chokehold restraint technique. It's part of government efforts to curb police brutality amid worldwide protests sparked by George Floyd's death in the U.S."
A search for this coverage of the protest provides further context. A report published by Time on June 12, 2020, reads, "Police officers in France have carried out protests and thrown handcuffs on the ground, saying that they are 'insulted' by claims that the police in France tolerates and perpetuates racism and abuse. Police officers protested on Thursday in cities across the country, after several anti-racism protests last week against police brutality and racism on French soil.”
This is not the first time footage of these protests has been misattributed. As Logically Facts reported at the time, a clip taken from these demonstrations was falsely presented in April 2023 as evidence that the French police had sided with protesters opposing changes to the country’s pension system.
This video was filmed in 2020 and predates the recent unrest in France. It shows police officers protesting a ban on chokehold restraints following the death of George Floyd. This claim has therefore been marked as false.