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France

French officer decorated over professional response to shocking police car attack

© Interior Ministry | Philippy was decorated with the honorary gold medal at a ceremony at the interior ministry in central Paris on Saturday, May 21, 2016

Text by Louise NORDSTROM

Latest update : 2016-05-21

A French police officer captured on video calmly stepping out of his vehicle and immediately checking up on his colleague after protesters set their car on fire was Saturday decorated with a medal for his professional response.

The decoration was carried out by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and took place at a ceremony at his ministry in central Paris in the presence of French President François Hollande.

Twenty-nine-year-old Kevin Philippy was also promoted to a higher officer’s rank and made a permanent member of the national police force.

Since the footage from this week’s violent anti-cop protests emerged on social media, French media has dubbed Philippy the “Kung Fu policeman”. In the widely-seen video, Philippy calmly blocks several blows from a masked, bar-wielding protester before walking away from both the attacker and the car, which was already in flames from a Molotov cocktail.

Interior Minister Cazeneuve said the video showed extreme professionalism on Philippy’s behalf.

Four other police officers were also decorated during the ceremony, including Alison Barthélemy, who was with Philippy in the car at the time of the attack.

“The images of the violence they (Kevin Philippy and his colleagues) were subject to will stay etched in the memory of the French people for a long time,” Cazeneuve said during the ceremony.

Cazeneuve added that he was extremely proud of the officers’ calm and measured response.

“Because, after the protests and tensions have passed … we will keep one image in our minds: That of a police officer stepping out of a vehicle with one single objective in mind, to protect his colleague,” the minister said.

The attack on the police car, which begins at around 3:25 in the video below, came as police demonstrated across France against violence suffered at the hands of anti-government protesters in recent months.

Around 300 people defied a ban to hold a counter-demonstration against what they claim is police brutality, and marched through the streets chanting "Cops, pigs, killers!"

Warning: This video contains violent images.

Date created : 2016-05-21

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