Video of the arrest shows the armed officer, who isn’t wearing a face mask, pointing his handgun at the 42-year-old man and then placing his foot on the back of the Brit’s head.
The policeman is then seen stamping on the Englishman’s head – leaving him in a pool of blood – while passengers look on from a train carriage and a woman shrieks in horror, Mirror reported.
The officer uses his foot to pin down the man’s head for about two minutes while a second officer, who is wearing a mask, sits on the man’s back and handcuffs him.
In the video, one passenger is heard saying during the incident: “It’s like the United States.” Two witnesses have since claimed the Brit didn’t lunge at police with a knife.
The incident happened at a train station in Orleans, about 60 miles south of Paris, when the man was on a train heading from the capital to Toulouse on Tuesday afternoon, French media reported.
It is alleged the man was drunk, didn’t have a ticket and was refusing to wear a face mask on the train, resulting in police being called to Fleury-les-Aubrais station by SNCF railway staff. It is said he refused to comply and was dragged onto the platform, where he allegedly lunged at police with a Swiss Army knife.
However, witnesses claim police were immediately aggressive towards the man, who they say wasn’t violent on the train and didn’t lunge at the officers with a knife.
They said an officer pulled out his gun, pointed it at the man and ordered him to drop the blade, which he did. A video that has gone viral on Twitter doesn’t show the confrontation on the train or the alleged incident with the knife.
The footage, recorded by a woman on the train, shows the shoeless man getting down on his stomach on the platform as an officer, who isn’t wearing a mask, points his gun at him.
As the man lay face down, a second officer kneels on his back and begins to handcuff him. The officer with the gun places his foot on the back of the man’s head or neck.
Hit foot moves and he then stamps on the man’s head as passengers’ shrieks and shouting are heard on the train. Witnesses said the man suffered facial injuries and lay in a pool of his own blood.
The policeman steps on the Brit’s head again and holds it down for almost two minutes as the other officer handcuffs the man, who is wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Witnesses said the officers asked the man why he wasn’t wearing a mask, and he told them that he had difficulty breathing with one on.
It is alleged that one of the officers pointed to his armoured vest and said: “What does this say? It says ‘Police’. It doesn’t say ‘Social worker’. I don’t give a damn about your problems.” Clemence claims the officer used “inappropriate” language and said: “You’re in France, you’re not in your country, so move on and do what you’re told.”
Witnesses said one of the officers then pulled out his gun, pointed it at the Brit and ordered him to drop the knife, which he did before getting down on the floor at gunpoint.
The officers provided first aid to the injured man after handcuffing him. He was taken to hospital and then into police custody when he was discharged. The public prosecutor said the Brit was arrested on suspicion of “willful violence against a person holding public authority”. The IGPN has launched an investigation into the incident.