Riots have continued in the French capital of Paris for a fourth night over allegations that police physically and sexually abused a black man earlier this month.
Rioters set fire to a nursery school, cars, and garbage cans and smashed windows in Paris suburbs for a fourth night on Thursday.
A gang of masked rioters bashed dozens of cars or set them ablaze in a private parking lot. The owner of the parking said 14 cars had been burned and three damaged from blunt force.
By Thursday, the unrest had spread to several suburbs surrounding Aulnay-sous-Bois, where police allegedly assaulted and raped a 22-year old black man back on February 2.
Protests first erupted when a video of the incident surfaced on the internet. The victim has been identified only by his first name, Theo.
He suffered severe injuries during the assault and was taken to the hospital for an emergency surgery.
Each of the four officers involved in the incident has been charged with aggravated assault, and one was charged with rape, according to French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux.
President François Hollande visited Theo in the hospital on Tuesday, and later tweeted that “Theo reacted with dignity and responsibility” and that justice “has been seized.”
However, France’s national police has claimed in bizarre comments that an early investigation concluded that the assault, while “very serious,” was “not a rape” due to the “unintentional character” of the officers’ actions.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Aulnay-sous-Bois has called for calm. On Thursday, he said an investigation into the case was underway.
“I still call, once again and always, for a return to calm and also to decency,” said Mayor Bruno Beschizza.
“I say it again: an investigation is ongoing, indictments have been decided, lawyers have been chosen, the presumption of innocence is respected. The incident will be judged while respecting the rights of each and everyone,” he said.