France drops case over 'racist' police violence video

TOURS, France (AFP) - French prosecutors said on Thursday they would not pursue a case against a police officer who sparked outrage when he was caught on video beating a black woman with a baton.

The incident, which also saw the officer spray tear gas in the woman's face, was filmed in mid-August in a suburb of the central city of Tours.

The eight-minute video, called "Shame on the French police", was viewed more than two million times after being posted on YouTube.

It shows two police officers trying to subdue a woman who was among the passengers of a car that was stopped while being driven erratically.

During the altercation, one of the officers strikes the woman several times with a truncheon and later sprays tear gas directly into her face.

The IGPN police internal affairs branch investigated after the video was posted, but Tours prosecutors said on Thursday that the probe found that the two officers "did not commit any infraction" during the incident.

France's Representative Council of Black Associations, or CRAN, denounced the decision.

"The evidence caught on film is irrefutable and this decision stigmatises France's black population," it said.

But a police union official, Mr David Debono, said the decision was a "relief" for the officers involved.

"The media impact of this has been difficult and complicated for them to live through," he said.