The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A Facebook post published Dec. 8, 2021, claims that a video shows French police throwing their handcuffs to the ground in protest against the French government’s vaccination policy.
- The video, shot in June 2020, shows French police protesting against a chokehold ban in France. It is not related to the purported “vaccination policy.”
- According to multiple news reports, following the death of George Floyd in the U.S. the French government had announced banning the use of a controversial chokehold during arrests to improve ethics in the police force. In June 2020 the ban sparked demonstrations organized by French police.
- Our ruling: Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
A video was shared Dec. 8, 2021, on Facebook, along with a claim that it shows French police throwing their handcuffs to the ground in protest against the French government’s vaccination policy. The Chinese-language post translates as, “French police threw their handcuffs to the ground in protest over vaccination hegemony! Wow! This is the extreme of civil resistance to authority. What a heart-touching scene!”
The post had been deleted before the issuance of this report, but a similar claim was found on Twitter.
When the Facebook post was archived, it had been shared 94 times, and had received 38 comments and 484 likes or reactions.
Keyword searches found a video published June 14, 2020, by Brut, a French video media company. The caption with the video claims it shows police officers demonstrating on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. A screenshot comparison between the video presented in the claim and the Brut video shows they were both shot during the same time at the same location.
A further keyword search found a similar video published June 14, 2020, on YouTube, by Ruptly, a Russian video news website affiliated with Russia’s state-controlled television network Russia Today. The caption reads, “French policemen were seen rallying in front of Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Saturday. Dozens of police cars were parked at the site, with policemen lining up and throwing handcuffs and police ribbons on the ground. Police protested against the new measures imposed by the government in a bid to improve ethics in the police forces after the death of George Floyd in the US. Following protests against racism and police brutality, (former) Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner announced that chokeholds would be banned and no longer be taught in police training. The police protested against the ban of the use of the chokehold method during arrests.”
A comparison of details shown in the two videos, such as a woman with long hair on the left of the video frame, a man to the right of the woman, and a policeman to the left of the woman, leads to the conclusion that the two videos show the same scene.
A news article was published June 14, 2020, by Reuters. The article included a photo with the caption, “Police officers attend a demonstration against French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner’s reforms, including ditching a controversial chokehold method of arrest, following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, near Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, June 14, 2020.”
A video was published July 2, 2020, on YouTube, by Line Press, a video press agency based in Paris, France. According to its caption, it claims to show police protesting near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. A screenshot comparison shows the scene in the Line Press video is the same as the video presented in the claim.
The BBC and France24 also covered this event. According to France24, French police protested in cities nationwide in June 2020 against a government ban on using chokeholds to restrain suspects. Before that, demonstrations had been fueled by anger over the death of Adama Traoré, who died while being restrained in police custody in 2016, forcing the government to look again at the controversial chokehold method of arrest. According to the BBC, plans to ban the use of the controversial chokehold during arrests was dropped June 15, 2020, by the French government due to pressure from police unions.
Therefore, the video shows French police protesting against a chokehold ban in France, rather than the purported “vaccination policy.”
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- Facebook post, Dec. 8, 2021.
- Twitter, tweet, Dec.11, 2021.
- Brut Facebook, “#DIRECT – Action nocturne des policiers en colère sur les Champs-Elysées. Rémy Buisine en direct,” June 14, 2020.
- YouTube, Ruptly, “France: Police throw down handcuffs in Arc de Triomphe protest,” June 14, 2020.
- Reuters, “Police converge at Paris’ Arc de Triomphe to protest government line,” June 14, 2020.
- YouTube, Line Press, “Les policiers en colère à l’Arc de Triomphe / Paris – France 14 juin 2020,” July 2, 2020.
- BBC, “France backs away from chokehold ban following police protests,” June 16, 2020.
- France24, “‘We feel insulted’: French police protest against chokehold ban,” June 12, 2020.