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Leader of 'angry police' in France found dead in suspected suicide

Maggy Biskupski (centre), a 36-year-old from an anti-crime brigade in the Yvelines area west of Paris, founded the Angry Police Movement after the October 2016 firebombing of a squad car with two officers inside
Maggy Biskupski, a 36-year-old from an anti-crime brigade in the Yvelines area west of Paris, founded the Angry Police Movement after the October 2016 firebombing of a squad car with two officers inside Maggy Biskupski (centre), a 36-year-old from an anti-crime brigade in the Yvelines area west of Paris, founded the Angry Police Movement after the October 2016 firebombing of a squad car with two officers inside AFP/File
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Paris (AFP)

A French officer who warned that growing anti-police violence was undermining morale in the force has been found dead at her home in a suspected suicide, the authorities said Tuesday.

Maggy Biskupski, a 36-year-old from an anti-crime brigade in the Yvelines area west of Paris, founded the Angry Police Movement protest group after the October 2016 firebombing of a squad car with two officers inside.

One male and one female officer sustained serious burns in the attack, which sparked weeks of police protests over what officers called mounting "anti-cop hatred" and a lack of resources to fight crime.

On Monday, Biskupski was found dead at her home west of Paris, with her service weapon next to her.

A letter was found at the scene, investigators said, adding that suicide was suspected.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner expressed "profound sadness" over the death of a woman who was "committed to a cause, that of defending the police, their honour, and their resources".

While saying he awaited the outcome of the investigation into the circumstances of her death, he added: "We have to listen to the anger of the police. I am listening."

Biskupski and three other outspoken officers were being investigated by a police oversight body for a possible breach of the neutrality traditionally required of civil servants in France.

Politicians from both the left and right were quick to interpret her death as further proof of a deep malaise within the force.

For the leader of the opposition centre-right Republicans, Laurent Wauquiez, she was a "symbol of a police force at the end of its tether", while far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen attributed her death to the "suffering of police".

Leftwing former presidential candidate Benoit Hamon also ascribed her death to her job, saying it "added to the overly long list of police officers dead from the consequences of their suffering at work".

Statistics show a marked drop in the number of police suicides this year, with 30 officers taking their lives so far since January, down from 46 over the same period in 2017.

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