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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 March 2019

Former boxer who punched French police at yellow vest protests jailed

Christophe Dettinger was videoed punching two officers during the gilet jaunes protests in January

Mr Dettinger, 37, an ex national light-heavyweight champion, was caught on camera on January 5 throwing a flurry of punches at two officers during clashes on a footbridge over the river Seine near parliament. AFP
Mr Dettinger, 37, an ex national light-heavyweight champion, was caught on camera on January 5 throwing a flurry of punches at two officers during clashes on a footbridge over the river Seine near parliament. AFP

A former professional boxer has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for an attack on two police officers during the gilet jaunes protests in France.

Footage shared of the January 5 incident on social media shows a group attempting to cross the Léopold-Sédar-Senghor Bridge and Christophe Dettinger throwing punches at two police officers.

Mr Dettinger is likely to serve 18 months in prison, with the rest of his term served at “semi-liberty”, whereby he is free during the day but required to return to prison at night. He could have faced up to seven years for the offence.

He is one of 1,800 people to be sentenced for their actions at the protests which began in November over fuel tax but have widened to include other grievances about other societal issues.

The French 2007 cruiserweight champion told the 27-year-old police officer he assaulted in court on Wednesday that he was not proud of what he had done. He said he would be embarrassed to face other parents at his child’s school.

“I cannot compare boxing to this act,” he said. “I did not come to fight.”

The case has divided French opinion. Before Mr Dettinger handed himself in to police two days after the incident, he posted a video explaining his actions to YouTube, in which he admitted he “reacted wrongly” to police aggression against protesters.

Shortly after his arrest, a crowdfunder raised more than £100,000 for his defence, but was shut down following criticism that it sanctioned violence against police.

Updated: February 14, 2019 02:24 PM

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