Former Macron Aide Could Be Facing New Charges in May Day Incident
It seems that potentially more trouble is in store for Alexandre Benalla, the former aide to French President Emmanuel Macron who was recently charged with assault and impersonating a police officer after a video surfaced showing Benalla violently attacking a male and female protester during France’s annual May Day event. Following these initial charges, Paris prosecutors have announced that they opened a new investigation into Benalla for two additional acts of violence that are said to have occurred earlier in the day.
The new investigation was sparked after two individuals, aged 23 and 24, reported that they were subjected to a violent arrest on May 1 at Paris’ Jardin des Plantes. It is not yet known what role Benalla may have played in this other incident. However, recently released images show Benalla and his associate Vincent Crase were definitely present at the scene of the arrest. Crase, a former security agent for Macron’s ruling La République en Marche party, has also been charged for the attack seen on the original video along with Benalla and three police officers.
The incident in question in the new investigation is purported to have occurred several hours before Benalla and Crase were filmed beating protestors at the Place de la Contrescarpe. Video from that incident clearly shows Benalla, dressed in a riot helmet and police tags, physically attacking a male protestor and then dragging a female along the ground. After its release, the video sparked huge outrage across the country and forced Macron’s party to terminate Benalla’s employment.
Although Benalla was eventually put on a two-week suspension a few days after the incident, no further action was taken until French newspaper Le Monde published a story of the incident along with the video. In fact, it has since been revealed that Benalla continued to draw his salary during his suspension. As well, critics of Macron’s party point to the fact that Benalla’s actions were not immediately reported to the police as further evidence of an attempted cover up. Under French law, public officials are required to immediately notify the relevant authorities if they are aware of a crime.
For his part, Benalla is now trying to paint himself as a scapegoat. At the same time, he says the entire affair has been used by Macron’s political opponents in an attempt to smear the president. Whether this is true or not is mostly irrelevant now, at least as far as Benalla is concerned, as now it will be up to a court of law to determine the full truth of these bizarre events.
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