Track star's account of police fracas questioned

11th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 11, 2006 (AFP) - Public prosecutors have opened an official investigation into the behaviour of France's former world heptathlon champion Eunice Barber leading to her controversial arrest by police last month.

PARIS, April 11, 2006 (AFP) - Public prosecutors have opened an official investigation into the behaviour of France's former world heptathlon champion Eunice Barber leading to her controversial arrest by police last month.

The Sierra Leone-born athlete claimed that she was slapped on the face for no reason by police after opening her window to talk to an officer who stopped her car in northern Paris near the Stade de France on March 18.

But eye witnesses contradicted Barber's version of events describing her behaviour as "furious" while security cameras in the area "partially confirmed" the police version of events, a police source said.

Prosecutors said there was nothing to justify the opening of an inquiry against the police.

Barber is being investigated for her refusal to comply with a police order, putting the life of others in danger, insulting behaviour and violence against the officers.

The decision was taken following an internal police investigation into the circumstances surrounding Barber's arrest after she was stopped in her car for ignoring a traffic signal.

Police claim she bit the officer and then resisted arrest, at which point several other officers came to help forcibly place her in handcuffs.

Barber claims she got out of the car and was attacked by several officers who rained blows down on her as she lay on the ground.

As Barber has lodged a formal complaint against the police her case will be heard by a judge, and both the case against her and hers against the police could be heard at the same time.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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