A former French light-heavyweight champion who punched and kicked a police officer during a gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protest in Paris has been given a one-year prison term. Christophe Dettinger was caught on camera on 5 January throwing a flurry of punches at an officer during clashes on a footbridge over the River Seine. The…
A former French light-heavyweight champion who punched and kicked a police officer during agilets jaunes(yellow vests) protest in Paris has been given a one-year prison term.
Christophe Dettinger was caught on camera on 5 Januarythrowing a flurry of punchesat an officer during clashes on a footbridge over the River Seine.
The 37-year-old has been in custody since turning himself in after the attack. He appeared before a packed courtroom on Wednesday looking tired, with a thin moustache and his hair cut short.
Ignoring prosecution calls for a significantly heavier sentence, the judge gave Dettinger open-prison terms that would allow him to work during the day.
Footage of the incident, which has been played repeatedly on TV and social media, was shown again in court with Dettinger, who is nearly two metres tall (6ft 3in), seen punching one policeman then kicking another on the ground.
The married father of three, who had no previous convictions, apologised for his actions. “I wanted to stop an injustice but I ended up creating another,” he told the court.
He expressed remorse for his “mistake”, which he said was sparked by anger at the “violence” used against protesters.
Thegilets jaunes movement– named after the high-visibility safety vests worn by activists – started over fuel tax hikes and quickly grew into a broader rebellion against the economic policies and leadership style of Emmanuel Macron, the French president.
The number of people taking part in weekly protests has fallen significantly since the start of the year, but the heat has not gone out of the movement, with demonstrations regularly ending in rioting.
“I see police hitting the yellow vests protesters with truncheons – I don’t understand. I see a woman on the ground, someone kicks her and raises a truncheon and that’s when I threw myself at the policeman and hit him,” Dettinger said.
He also received an 18-month suspended sentence, is banned from visiting Paris for six months and must pay his two victims sums of €2,000 (£1,750) and €3,000.