Threatened with death last year, the mayor of Pléneuf-Val-André testifies – Teller Report
How were you threatened with death last year?
“At the beginning of 2022, a resident of the town with whom we had had disagreements posted a message on social networks directly threatening me with death. I soon received dozens of messages with screenshots informing me of what he had written. He is someone who regularly insults residents on social networks, as well as myself, by giving me degrading nicknames. »
What was your reaction then?
“At the time, I was mixed: I took it seriously, but also told myself that this person was disturbed. It was especially my relatives who were worried and stressed, my parents, my partner. They told me to be careful. I went to file a complaint with the gendarmerie, telling them that I feared an act of madness and taking a stab wound. A year later, I have no news of this complaint. On the other hand, the insults on his part and the threats full of innuendo persist on social networks. But I did not go back to see the gendarmes. I tell myself it’s no use. »
Didn’t you feel protected?
“I think, unfortunately, it takes physical assault to be taken seriously. But the State is also helpless in the face of this type of behavior, it does not know what to do. For me, as soon as there is an insult, there must be a hearing in police custody. Afterwards, the prosecution decides whether to prosecute or not. But it’s not possible to be insulted without anything happening. The hardest thing to live with are ad hominem insults. Some people don’t realize the violence of what they say or write. »
Is this a subject of discussion between mayors?
“We talk from time to time about these types of difficulties, altercations or threats that we have received. Everyone has experienced it. I have at least one other colleague in the sector who told me that he too had been threatened with death. »
City agents are also regularly targeted?
“We talk a lot about elected officials at the moment, but the agents are even more insulted. We speak badly to them. Most often, this concerns the deadlines for issuing the identity card, but also the postage. We are regularly obliged to intervene to ask people to apologize. Recently, a city agent received a message in which there was a coffin. Another person made a comparison between our house rules and Auschwitz. Very recently, an agent was insulted by email. »
You have been mayor since 2020, have you felt an evolution over the past three years?
“I have the impression that since the end of the covid crisis, there are more tensions. People are on edge and get angry very easily. This is felt at the town hall in the reception of the public. These are places that serve as receptacles for daily difficulties. But we must remember that we can say things to each other without insulting each other and find solutions by discussing”.
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