At the Benalla trial, “a knife blow in the monopoly of legitimate violence”

The first days of the hearing made it possible to better understand the personality and the role of Alexandre Benalla, then in charge of mission at the Elysee Palace, where he managed part of the presidential trips. Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 September, the 10e chamber of the Paris Criminal Court entered the heart of the case: the actions of Mr. Benalla and Vincent Crase on 1is May 2018.

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Mr. Benalla had wished to come and observe the maintenance of order in the face of violent demonstrators. On his own initiative and without warning anyone – “It started with a good feeling”, he avoids – he had invited his friend Vincent Crase, then in charge of the security of the party La République en Marche (LRM), to join him. The two observers are entrusted by Laurent Simonin, then Chief of Staff at the Directorate of Public Order and Traffic (DOPC), in the care of Major Philippe Mizerski, a police officer experienced in monitoring social movements.

The trio goes up the procession to the Boulevard de l’Hôpital, where the atmosphere is chaotic. Around 5 p.m. – two hours before the events at Place de la Contrescarpe -, MM. Benalla and Crase run off in the alleys of the Jardin des Plantes, sowing their chaperone in the process. A few minutes later, they return holding a man they have just arrested, Khalifa M. They say they saw him throwing stones at the police – an act for which he was convicted – and even struck a blow of foot at a CRS. “No victim showed up”, defends his lawyer. In an agency photo, Mr Benalla is seen giving an arm lock to Khalifa M., who appears to be screaming. “We say to ourselves that it hurts”, notes the assessor Edmond Brunaud, who leads the debates. “Is he in pain? Does he call people? Does tear gas make him cry? “, nuance Vincent Crase.

“Anecdotal”

On a video shown at the hearing, we can see that the latter is wearing an orange armband with the logo “police”. He admitted to having also come armed with an automatic pistol – a ” fault “ he says he regrets. In the image, he also holds a telescopic baton – weapon whose carrying and use are regulated. First sign of dissension between the versions of the two men: he assures that it is Alexandre Benalla who gave it to him, when the latter swears that this is not the case. Hair in disarray and beard provided, Khalifa M., civil party, maintains at the bar in a muffled voice that he was hit with this object – which will cause him four days of total incapacity for work ( ITT). “I didn’t really see the baton, I heard it and felt it on my leg. “ Vincent Crase admits having had the baton in his hand, but firmly denies having struck a blow.

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