French senators on Thursday demanded that the state acknowledge responsibility and identify the culprits behind the chaos outside the national stadium that marred last month’s Champions League final.
They also questioned why government officials allowed the deletion of surveillance video from the scene, in which police sprayed fans and families with pepper spray, instead of ordering it be turned over to investigators.
The fiasco drew worldwide attention to the heavy-handedness of French policing and raised questions about France’s ability to responsibly handle security at major world events.
Senator Laurent Lafon, at the head of a commission seeking explanations for what happened, said: “The general impression of the progress of the Champions League final is a lack of preparation, a lack of upstream preparation, a lack of responsiveness during the events and questionable management after the events. .
“The gravity of the events (…) requires a state response.”
He did not name specific culprits but noted that everyone responsible for handling the situation “failed at one point or another” and all worked for the government.
Deleting the surveillance video gives “the impression that there is no one responsible, and since there is no one responsible, there is no one guilty,” Lafon said.
He and another commission member spoke at the Stade de France to summarize the commission’s work so far. They did not directly address police brutality.
A senior government official tasked with issuing a report on what happened said security measures should have been adapted as crowds converged. Questioned Thursday by senators, Michel Cadot called for exploring new means of crowd control in stadiums such as mounted police and artificial intelligence systems to monitor and predict crowd movements, particularly in view of the Paris 2024 Olympics. .
Questioned earlier by the senatorial commission, the prefect of police of Paris admitted that the evening had been a “failure”.