In Avignon, an emotional tribute to the police officer killed in intervention on Wednesday

In a great meditation, a crowd of police and Avignon gathered on Sunday May 9 in front of the Avignon police station in tribute to a 36-year-old brigadier, Eric Masson, killed on May 5 during an intervention against a drug trafficking point.

A national tribute, chaired by Prime Minister Jean Castex, will be paid to him on May 11 at 3 p.m. at the prefecture of Vaucluse, we learned from the local police.

On the steps of the police station, located just outside the city walls, and on the adjacent wide boulevard, some 5,000 people, according to the police, observed a minute of silence, at the call of the trade unions. , facing the portrait of the father of the family who died in service.

Police officers gathered around the portrait of Eric Masson, Avignon, May 9, 2021.

Flower deposit in tribute to Eric Masson, Avignon, May 9, 2021.

Flower deposit in tribute to Eric Masson, Avignon, May 9, 2021.

Many police officers, in civilian clothes, some with their orange armbands, but also residents, line up for several tens of meters to drop a flower or leave a note on the condolence registers already well supplied. Applause for the police and a Marseillaise sound from time to time.

His teammates were present but not his family. She has expressed her need for tranquility in this moment of mourning and wishes to stay away from any political and media unrest.

An intervention on a drug trafficking point

Called on Wednesday at a well-known drug trafficking point, in the historic center of Avignon, the police officers of the Vaucluse-Gard departmental intervention brigade, in civilian clothes, including Eric Masson, had carried out the control of a client “Of what looked like a narcotics trade”, according to prosecutor Philippe Guémas.

While the woman had just been arrested by the two policemen, “Two individuals came forward (…) and one of the two, carrying a shoulder bag, (them) asked what they were doing there”, explained Philippe Guémas: “Eric Masson declined his status as a police officer and the individual took out a handgun and fired twice, hitting him in the chest and abdomen”. The policeman died on the spot.

The shooter and his accomplice fled and are still actively sought.

“There is no support”

“You have come so many. There should be more people. The individual who did that to Eric is on the run, but he is trembling, the deadline is only delayed ”, launched an Avignon policeman at the microphone.

“What we feel is even more anger because we are resigned. It will get worse and worse because there is no support. Behind, justice does not follow “, deplores Nicolas, a former Marseille colleague of Eric Masson. He confides his doubts, his shaken vocation. “We like what we do”, tempers a colleague, Franck, at his side.

“We are not warriors but peacekeepers”, insists Bruno Bartoccetti, regional secretary of the SGP Unit union, who hopes for stronger measures against “Dealers who today are armed”. “We must give justice the means to sanction”, he asserts.

The unions received by Jean Castex

Monday, all police unions must be received by Prime Minister Jean Castex.

Fabien Vanhemelryck, secretary general of Alliance police nationale, calls for him “Irreducible penalties for each category of offenses”.

“The fight against drug trafficking, everywhere in the country, is like a war. We are waging this war thanks to soldiers, (…) the police and gendarmes of France. Today, one of these soldiers died as a hero ”, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Wednesday.

The department of Vaucluse, one of the ten poorest in France, has seen an increase in drug trafficking in recent years, like several cities in the Mediterranean arc, according to police and judicial officials interviewed recently by AFP.

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