The French state believes that the practice of police singling out people who are black or of North African appearance for identity checks can be justified, according to documents seen by Mediapart. Government lawyers argue that when the police are looking for possible immigration offences – for example not having the correct documents – it can be legitimate to target people from different ethnic backgrounds rather than whites as potential offenders. This is despite the fact that this practice of so-called ‘racial profiling‘ – contrôles au faciès in French – is counter to all domestic and international jurisprudence. And in spite of the promise given by François Hollande when he was a presidential candidate that he would fight such ethnically-targeted police searches.
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