Marc La Mola is a former Bac Nord police officer in Marseille. Now transformed into author and author of numerous essays and documents, he has just published North of the city, by Michaelon. In this book, he dissects and dissects the public police policy that led to the scandal about bac Nord de Marseille.
How did you react in 2012 when the Bac Nord case broke out?
I was no longer at Bac, but I was still at BSU north of Marseille, as a Judicial Police Officer (OPJ). So I saw the Bac police return with their arrests and I saw the slow fall of the unit. We saw a decrease in the quality of the arrests and the interventions in the cases that were made to reach the figure.
It’s very simple, you have to make a business quota, if you do not, you pick up anything. So after all, they were effective because there are so many trades in the northern sector that they had no difficulty doing so. But we see very quickly that the business is going down and the colleagues who are becoming accountants.
In your book, you are very critical of politicians and especially Nicolas Sarkozy, whom you nevertheless viewed positively upon his arrival. Why ?
To begin with, I let myself, like many, be deceived by the character, who at the police level announces things that, in the way it was stated, seemed quite positive. We thought he would solve the police problems directly. Nevertheless, we saw very quickly what it yielded. Especially from the Toulouse speech, where he said: “football matches in the neighborhoods, it’s over”. So stop with local police, stop prevention. But if a police force does not have proximity, it is ineffective. In addition to tightening ladles, it is a real prevention and intelligence tool.
Little by little we have seen changes, the merit bonus, the result culture, the management … The headmaster goes from real cop to manager, a statistician with his Excel spreadsheet. And there we are witnessing the decadence of the police. I’m very critical of politics, but in the police everything is political.
Shortly after the Bac Nord case, shortly after the Neyret case, did it not reflect a real problem in the police?
The Neyret case is something else again, another level. The North Bac, it’s ethical sprains and petty criminal acts. Neyret has mixed things up a bit. An excellent cop, but he has lost his footing. The police were put in difficulty in relation to these two cases. That from Bac Nord put all the Bacs in trouble, but also the Marseille police. There will always be a track. Even among the neighborhood kids who were 10 years old at the time and are 20 years old today, they will say to you, “Bac, they are corrupt.”
There is, in Marseille, this new strategy of shelling, what do you think?
A casting on a wooden leg. If we do not do otherwise, then we do this. A certain category of the population leads one to believe that the police are present. We’re going to knock. So sometimes, yes. But we must not deceive ourselves, the difficulty of the networks does not happen by interrogation, but by investigation.
This is where I return to Bac Nord. Colleagues replaced the drug brigade. There were crews that did just that, without having the skills, the networks, or the training; and they did a little bit of anything, became perverted. It gave what we know.
The shelling, it will delight the press, there will be beautiful articles: “descent to Casté, seized at 3 kilos, and two calibers”. Everyone is happy. But finally, when you challenge a dealer, he gets replaced an hour later.
Do you want to advocate legalization / decriminalization?
I asked myself the question at one point. I said to myself “at the stage where we are, is this not the only solution?”. So you have to be completely honest, it’s no worse to have a joint in the evening than 10 pastis at noon. But actually no. It would legalize an additional drug along with tobacco or alcohol.
If we go back to the strictly police level, they will find something else: harder cannabis, chemicals, more cocaine. It’s more than 20 years since we created the all-repressive, it’s the most monstrous failure we’ve ever known in terms of police.
In September, 12 of the eighteen defendants in the so-called Bac Nord case are to be appealed – the prosecution, therefore the ministry, appealed acquittals or judgments that were judged too low – what do you expect from this trial?
I want justice to say, shit, we messed up. Especially Dallest, then-prosecutor who dropped the word “gangrene.”
Back then there was no AFD (fixed penalty fine), today conso is a fine, but before it was a provision for OPJ. Any clampin caught in making numbers with a booger like they said I tried. He did not care as much about it as I did, but it occupied a crew, a secretary. I called the prosecution, I was told “reminder of the law”. I did not even do it against him, and to be completely honest, and if he was sweet, I gave him the goods back and I said to him: “go, break it off”.
In short, so when I was in the process of hearing, I called the prosecution and I asked, and the case, what should I do about it? Did the prosecution say “destroy”? So I opened my drawer, I put it in, and something like that I did 5, 8-10 a day, so after two months I had two hundred grams. This is what happened to North Bac. We take shit and put it in our pocket.
The one I call Luc, he grabs shit costume jewelry that he picks up from a guy, charms. He puts them in the jacket of his fatigue, which hangs in the locker room. He went to jail for it. I swear it’s true. Go explain it now …
So I hope their honor is washed a little. In this case, there are two who have really screwed up: One admitted to having taken a (dealer) bag and another the same, there are those who have no reason to even defend what they screwed up, points. The others went to jail for three jewels in a jacket, four hidden hairpins, that’s it.
When there is temptation without the structure of the hierarchy, which is occupied by its figures, well, here we come to the case of Bac Nord.
Recently, there have also been debates about police violence, about Bacs in demonstrations, the issue of defensive shootings … Jean-Luc Mélenchon even calls for the dissolution of Bacs
My position is clear. I demand a moratorium on Bins. Does the Bac we have known have a reason to exist today? None. With the development of technologies, cameras, surveillance, telephony and beacon, is there as much flagrant delicto offered to Bac twenty years ago as it is today? None. Afterwards, I do not agree with Mélenchon, which I find dangerous.
But I think one should at least think. Wouldn’t it be better to dress some of these agents or put them under investigation? When I got into the Bac, there was a recurring offense that we encountered almost every night, it was roulette theft: we break into a car to take the car radio. Today, it is offenses that are almost never committed. What does Bacs do? AFDs? Maintain order? These are not their functions.