Former boxer who punched French police at yellow vest protests jailed

Christophe Dettinger was videoed punching two officers during the gilet jaunes protests in January

This court sketch made on February 13, 2019 shows Christophe Dettinger, a former boxer, standing during the opening hearing of the trial over the assault of a police officer during 'yellow vest' protest (gilets jaunes), at the Paris courthouse. The former boxer who became a symbol of France's "yellow vest" protests after being filmed punching police officers during a demonstration in Paris went on trial on February 13 on charges that carry up to seven years in jail. Dettinger, 37, an ex national light-heavyweight champion, was caught on camera on January 5 throwing a flurry of punches at two officers during clashes on a footbridge over the river Seine near parliament. / AFP / Benoit PEYRUCQ
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A former professional boxer has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for an attack on two police officers during the gilet jaunes protests in France.

Footage shared of the January 5 incident on social media shows a group attempting to cross the Léopold-Sédar-Senghor Bridge and Christophe Dettinger throwing punches at two police officers.

Mr Dettinger is likely to serve 18 months in prison, with the rest of his term served at “semi-liberty”, whereby he is free during the day but required to return to prison at night. He could have faced up to seven years for the offence.

He is one of 1,800 people to be sentenced for their actions at the protests which began in November over fuel tax but have widened to include other grievances about other societal issues.

The French 2007 cruiserweight champion told the 27-year-old police officer he assaulted in court on Wednesday that he was not proud of what he had done. He said he would be embarrassed to face other parents at his child’s school.

“I cannot compare boxing to this act,” he said.  “I did not come to fight.”

The case has divided French opinion. Before Mr Dettinger handed himself in to police two days after the incident, he posted a video explaining his actions to YouTube, in which he admitted he “reacted wrongly” to police aggression against protesters.

Shortly after his arrest, a crowdfunder raised more than £100,000 for his defence, but was shut down following criticism that it sanctioned violence against police.