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French Open Judicial Probe Into Beating by Macron Aide


Alexandre Benalla, a French presidential security aide fired Friday, is seen during a May Day labor union rally in Paris, France, May 1, 2018.

A former senior security aide for French President Emmanuel Macron has been charged with assaulting a protester at a May Day demonstration.

In the most damaging scandal to hit Macron since he took office last year, Alexandre Benalla, who was fired by Macron Friday, and another member of Macron's ruling party, Vincent Crase, were charged with "gang violence," Paris prosecutors said on Sunday.

A video made public by Le Monde newspaper Wednesday shows Benalla wearing a police helmet with visor as well as a police armband while dragging a woman away from the crowd and later beating a male protester as riot police looked on while breaking up a May Day protest in Paris.

Benalla was charged with violence, interfering in the exercise of public office and the unauthorized public display of official insignia. Benalla is not a police officer.

Three high-ranking police officers were charged with misappropriation of the images and violating professional secrecy for illegally giving Benalla video surveillance footage of the incidents to help him try to clear his name. They have been suspended from their jobs.

Benalla, 26, handled Macron's campaign security and has remained close to the president.

Macron's office has said Benalla only was supposed to be accompanying officers to the May protest as an observer.

The opposition accuses Macron of covering up for Benalla. They also have questioned why Benalla was not fired and referred for prosecution when the president's office learned about the beating months ago.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb is scheduled to be questioned on Monday by lawmakers who have said they will demand his resignation if it is revealed that he knew about the incident and did nothing.