At the Benalla trial, on the events of May 1, 2018: “I recognize that the scene may seem violent”

“I have vigorous movements, but I always keep my hands open, I never strike. It would have been seen if I had dealt blows with all my might. ” At the helm of the 10e chamber of the Paris Criminal Court, Friday, September 24, Alexandre Benalla displays certainties as massive as can be his silhouette seen from the back.

The images on which the court is looking on this seventh day of the hearing are not in its favor, however: they are those of the events in the Place de la Contrescarpe, on the 1ster May 2018, the origin of the Benalla scandal, who was then in charge of mission at the Elysee Palace. And there are many. Close-up or far, in slow motion, at normal speed, frame by frame, with or without sound, – “Surgery”, notes the assessor Edmond Brunaud, who leads the proceedings – the court sees a single scene seen through half a dozen videos, including that of videographer Taha Bouhafs, civil party, who launched the case.

Around 7 p.m., Place de la Contrescarpe, in the 5e arrondissement of Paris, is invaded by CRS and demonstrators. Georgios D. and Chloé P. are not among them, but they have found themselves in the middle of a CRS charge. “In their withdrawal, they gassed us and clubbed me for free”, maintains Georgios D., brown hair pulled back and Greek accent. This is why, he explains, with his companion they threw a jug at the police. A crime they both recognize and for which they were convicted in February 2019.

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“Useless” intervention

A first video shows Alexandre Benalla, helmeted, who appears in the middle of the square, holding Chloé P by the neck. For him, the young woman is then “Very virulent” : “I am 110 kg and it was difficult to bring her back. ” In the pouting image, she does not seem to resist. He took the initiative to go find the young woman, “Something normal, a citizen gesture”, he hammers tirelessly. The two police officers warned, Commissioner Creusat and Comptroller General Simonin are nevertheless unanimous in considering that this intervention was “Useless” given the number of police officers present.

He brings him to a sidewalk where Major Mizerski is already, chaperone of the two men for their day of observation of the demonstrations. We then see him attempting to do a sort of judo grip on him – “Technical gesture”, explains Mr. Benalla – to put her on the ground. “He was trying to make me fall, I was focused not to fall to the ground, I was so scared”, says Chloé P., moved. She ended up sitting down, held down by Major Mizerski. Alexandre Benalla leaves immediately. On a second sequence, we can see Georgios D. struggling, maintained by several CRS. In front of him, Vincent Crase who has him “Caught from behind” and put on the ground. We see him several times raising his hand as if to strike a blow, without doing so. “It’s a form of intimidation”, he admits.

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