Guadeloupe: Police “Blunder”?

Amidst the confusion of the month-long social conflict in Guadeloupe, two nights of violence took place on February 17th and 18th. Apart from acts of arson in shops and numerous burning roadblocks, the climax of these violent clashes has been the as-yet unsolved assassination of a man. Trikess, who blogs at Chien créole tells about the death of Jacques Bino [Fr], a Guadeloupean labor union leader who was killed late Tuesday night.

Numerous hypotheses have since been made to explain – or even attempt to solve – this case. Guadeloupean blogger Indiscrétions publishes an open letter about it [Fr]:

Le regretté Jacques BINO a été doublement victime. Il a été aussi victime de ces dysfonctionnements. Heureusement que des policiers ont aussi été blessés dans cette affaire. Heureusement qu'ils ne peuvent même pas être soupçonnés… sauf peut-être de non assistance à personne en danger

Late Jacques BINO was a double victim. He was also the victim of [police forces] dysfunctioning. Fortunately, some police officers have also been injured in this clash. Fortunately, because now they cannot be suspected…except of failure to provide assistance to a person in danger.

This is probably a reply to official statements made by the French Prime Minister and other state representatives, who declared on national TV that J. Bino had been murdered by young rioters who were staging a roadblock. (There has not yet been an official conclusion to the investigation.) Here is ChienCréole‘s opinion the day after the murder:

Cela dit s’il est vrai que certains jeunes se sont livrés à des actes de violence aveugle de nature à porter atteinte à la vie d’autrui, et même s’il est fort probable qu’un d’entre eux ait appuyé sur la gachette de l’arme qui a tué Jacques Bino, les conclusions des uns et des autres sont un peu trop rapides et légères en l’absence des conclusions de l’enquête.

Look, it is true that some young people have committed gratuitous acts of violence which could endanger someone's life, and it is very likely that one of them may have pulled the trigger that killed Jacques Bino, but here and there quick and inconsistent conclusions have been drawn without any proper results of investigations.

In the context of the ongoing social unrest, the police forces seem eager to solve this murder as quickly as possible. Yet, instead of pacifying things, the investigation has been the cause of another very controversial episode, first told by Trikess and since relayed all over the blogosphere, Twitter and Facebook. In his post entitled, Arrest of a young man suspected of killing Jacques Bino [Fr], the blogger tells the story and posts pictures of both the young man who was arrested by the police and of his grandmother who had allegedly been roughed up by the policemen. He explains [Fr]:

Six policiers, l’arme au poing, s’engouffrent les premiers dans le petit appartement. Ils se précipitent sans hésitation dans la chambre tout de suite à gauche et tombent à bras raccourcis sur Patrice, que les détonations et les cris des policiers viennent de réveiller en sursaut.

Six well-armed policemen first stormed into the small apartment. They rushed without hesitating in the first room on the left and violently hit Patrice, who had just been woken up by the detonations and yelling of the policemen.

On Saturday February 21st, the young man was released after being cleared by the hard drive of his PC [Fr] – and for the past week, the Guadeloupean (BworldConnection) and Martinican blogospheres (Montray kréyol) [Fr] have been expressing their concern about what they regard as an unjustified arrest. Twitter and Facebook users have also been spreading this information along with the pictures, already stigmatizing the entire affair as a “blunder”.

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