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10 Jan, 2019 14:12

Below the belt? ‘Yellow Vest’ boxer who battled police officers denied bail

Below the belt? ‘Yellow Vest’ boxer who battled police officers denied bail

A former boxer made famous after his impromptu bout with two French policemen during the latest Yellow Vest protest in Paris will be imprisoned pending his trial, which has been rescheduled for February 13.

They leave him in prison! Dictatorship! You will see Saturday!” supporters of Yellow Vest ex-boxer Christopher Dettinger cried out in the courtroom as the decision of his detention was announced. The hearing took place late on Wednesday in the 23rd chamber of the Criminal Court of Paris.

Originally scheduled for immediate judgement on charges of “intentional violence against a person endowed with state power,” the court granted Dettinger’s request to postpone the trial in order to provide him time to prepare a defense.

However, they also decided that he would remain in jail in the meantime instead of being released under judicial supervision as he and his lawyers had hoped, provoking anger and cries of outrage in the tense courtroom. The court also refused his team’s request for additional information or judicial investigation.

Dettinger himself declared that he was “not proud” of his actions, but had reacted to being teargassed and seeing a heavily-armored gendarme striking a young woman.

I got gassed, I could not find my wife, I saw gendarmes bludgeoning people, a lady who was on the ground, I did not have control,” he said as his eyes started to brim with tears, adding that he nonetheless “should not have hit” the officer, and that he is responsible for raising three children.

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The lady in question, who was present in the courtroom, told RTL the ex-boxer had “saved her life” from a police officer who was attacking her before having to deal with someone his own size.

In a video posted on social media before his arrest, Dettinger made a similar argument explaining his actions, claiming that his anger had mounted after seeing “pensioners getting gassed.” The former lightweight described himself as a “normal citizen” sick of watching French politicians “gorging themselves” at the expense of the people, and encouraged a peaceful fight moving forward.

Dettinger’s lawyer stressed that he wore no protective gear to the protest and had “not come to fight,”and his sister told the court he “did not want any notoriety,” yet the fight is as undeniable as his status as a symbol for the movement. Before being shut down, a fundraising website had accumulated $130,000 toward his court-costs, with hundreds of donors praising him for having the “courage” of a “champion” and calling him “our national boxer.

The Yellow Vest protests have taken place every Saturday since last November in opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron's liberalizing reforms.

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