As has been widely reported in the media, between Sunday night and Monday morning a man was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer in the Eurotunnel. What has not been reported is that this man is both deaf and mute!
We have heard from numerous people who saw what happened. The police arrived to disperse a group and when others fled he kept on walking straight because he could not hear the police commands. They took this as defiance and ran up behind him, violently grabbing him. In the end his friends told us that there were two full vans of CRS (about ten individual officers) that were involved in “arresting” him. As far as we can ascertain, this extraordinary level of police force can only suggest one thing. The police decided to take out their frustration and aggression on this one man.
The hospital in Calais told us that at 1AM on Monday someone matching his name and description was treated with stitches for a laceration to the head. It was not noted though that he was in police custody and they do not know where he was taken after treatment.
The police will not give any information either. We do not know where he is, if he has a lawyer, anyone with whom he can communicate, or if he even knows what is happening to him. We are extremely worried that, not being able to hear or speak and without a lawyer, he will not be able to defend himself in court.
The police were very quick to spread this story, or select elements from it, to create an image of the migrants here as violent and dangerous. In this way they hoped to victimize themselves and create the justification for the violence they use against people here on a daily basis; people who just want to get by them and cross the border. If this was the savage and unprovoked attack that police say, why have they not yet released any video evidence? Certainly, with all the money the British have been giving them for more security, the French should have had at least one camera able to see what actually happened. We suspect that the police have cynically manipulated this incident for their own gain. This seems to be their tactic for dealing with their own mistakes; targeting those attempting to cross the border and their allies, demonising them as violent and anti-social.
To remember: at least 12 people have been killed by the Calais border in the last 2 months. Innumerably more people have been beaten, gassed, injured, by police and border security. The violence here is coming exclusively from the state.