While the first report of the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) “clears” the police in the investigation related to Steve Maia Caniço, Gilles Nicolas, Assistant for Security and Public Tranquility in the City of Nantes and Metropolitan Councillor, pinpoints the responsibility of the State. Maintenance without evasion.
Presse Océan: As it stands, the police of the police [IGPN] judge the use of force on the night of Music Festival at Quai Wilson to be legitimate. And they point the finger, emptily, at the responsibility of the city hall of Nantes. Your reaction?
Gilles Nicolas: “In this tragedy, the fundamental problem is the intervention of the police. We must not reverse the roles. It was not the municipality that gave the order to intervene at 4:30 in the morning, everyone must hear this. At 4:30 pm, June 22nd, at Quai Wilson, the town hall is not present and has no role in the action that has been ordered. I’m sorry but these are facts, and these facts are stubborn.”
But the mayor has a role to play in matters of order and security, as the IGPN points out …
“Wait: so all the places where there is an event in Nantes, it is the responsibility of the city and not that of the National Police? The shots fired in Nantes, whose number is three times greater than last year, is still me? I am in charge of order and security in the city? But are we dreaming or what? Have we studied the legal texts? Well let’s go all the way: if we want to be precise, legally precise, since this is what will be asked, the organisation of a free party is the responsibility of the special police of prefects. Sound system gatherings are governed by article 211 of the internal security code, which is the responsibility of the departmental prefect. It’s purely factual.”
There was a municipal by-law excluding the sound walls in the city center. But you were obviously informed about the evening of Quai Wilson …
“Of course we were. Historically, sound systems are tolerated at Quai Wilson by the prefecture of Loire-Atlantique and the city of Nantes, on the night of the Music Festival. The proof: there was a joint preparation meeting – the city, the National Police, the prefecture – prior preparation.”
You confirm the holding of this coordination meeting?
“Of course there was one. Placed under the aegis, under the same presidency, of the chief of staff of the prefecture. I repeat: the city has nothing to reproach itself for. The town hall is in possession of unstoppable arguments that it keeps at the disposal of the investigators.”
Did the city not have the duty to secure the site?
“But it did it. This is despite the fact that it does not have legal jurisdiction over the area of Quai Wilson, which is the property of the Grand seaport, so the state. The city has hired for this evening two accompaniment agents (note: from the company Lynx). I mean two escorts, not two security guards as it is written in the report of the IGPN administrative inquiry. These agents were in charge of liaising with the emergency station provided by the Civil Protection at the Banana Hanger (note: the apparatus of the ‘Banana Shed’ post, set up in front of the Warehouse concert hall on the occasion of student nights, was especially doubled for the 2019 Music Festival, from 6 to 12 rescuers). Finally, like in previous years, the city commissioned, and therefore paid, the Société nautique Atlantique. On the night of June 21st, a lifeboat of tjos rescue association, with two people on board, was sent to patrol the Loire (precisely on the arm of Pirmil, which faces Quai Wilson), from midnight to 8 o’clock in the morning.”
Many blame the lack of barriers at the site?
“Again, we do not have a hand on this space. Unlike the Banana Hanger, Quai des Antilles. Let’s talk about the Banana Hanger. We have particularly secured this sector under the responsibility of the city hall. With guardrails, buoys, ladders but also the establishment of a video protection system and a specific pedestrian path. There, the city did its job, and that’s normal: it’s a sector that belongs to it. Once again, Quai Wilson belongs to the Grand Seaport, so to the State.”
Were you or a representative of the city questioned for the first IGPN report?
“I have not been questioned by anyone. But the city, of course, is ready to respond to any solicitation. I have no doubt that the GIA (General Inspectorate of Administration, looking into the case in addition to the IGPN) will meet us in the course of its investigation. We ask only one thing: that transparency and truth are carried out.”