French minister defends himself over Macron security officer controversy
Gerard Collomb faced questions from MPs amid continuing political fallout from the incident.
The French interior minister has insisted it was not his job to inform judicial officials of violence by a presidential security officer against a May Day protester, even though he had been informed of the incident the following day.
Answering questions from MPs, Gerard Collomb said the president’s office informed him that sanctions were taken against Alexandre Benalla and it was not within his remit to do more.
The failure to immediately inform judicial officials has developed into a major political crisis for French president Emmanuel Macron.
Benalla was only publicly identified last week as the man seen beating a protester on May 1. He was handed preliminary charges on Sunday.
Four others, including three ranking police officers, were also charged.
A parliamentary inquiry is trying to determine the facts of the matter, including the chain of command and the exact role of Benalla in Mr Macron’s office.
Mr Collomb, who is in charge of France’s security forces, said Benalla is not under his supervision.
Benalla was embedded with police as an observer during the particularly violent May Day protests in which numerous shops and some cars were damaged by ultra-left gangs.