July 1, 2022

Hostage-taking in Paris: the tipping point of the negotiations

Under the threat of a bladed weapon, in this small bazaar-hardware store near the Aligre market, the madman held two women for a little over 16 hours. During the negotiations and after having been able to speak with the prefect of police himself, the suspect freed his second hostage and was arrested without violence.

By its duration and its outcome, it is a special intervention carried out by the men of the BRI, the Research and Intervention Brigade of the Paris Police Prefecture. When they are dispatched to the scene, the 56-year-old is energized. Since 3:30 p.m., armed with a bladed weapon, he locked himself in the hardware store in rue d’Aligre, with a mother and daughter who work in this family business. He doesn’t know them. He has a message to send. He is known in the neighborhood for his psychiatric disorders.

Within earshot from outside the building where he has lowered the iron curtain, a first contact was established by the first responders: the staff of the Security and Intervention Company and the BAC 75 night.

The BRI, specializing in the management of this type of crisis, takes over, with a team of negotiators: the police officer in direct contact with the individual, a psychologist, a second support negotiator who can take over in contact and a third man responsible for “keeping a cool head” and the capacity for external analysis of the situation.

Inconsistent comments

Man is not known as a violent or dangerous individual. According to our information, he claims to be the victim of an attempted poisoning, the victim of an injustice. His words are not all consistent, he asks to speak to the Minister of Justice, but also to the lawyer of Omar Raddad, because he appreciates it.

While it is unthinkable in this kind of situation to expose a political figure, on the other hand, negotiators sometimes solicit third parties depending on the situation, a family member or an acquaintance likely to resolve the crisis. The BRI police officers therefore requested Maître Noachovitch, the lawyer in question, who was able to speak on the phone with the maniac, but without this changing things. The negotiator’s exchanges therefore continued with the suspect.

According to our information, he then asked the hostage taker to release one of the women. The suspect offered the younger to leave the store, but she refused to leave her mother behind. It was finally the mother who was able to go out, shortly before 10 p.m., without him giving in to his second captive.

Complex negotiations

“The negotiations were complex because the individual was not anchored in reality, he was completely lost,” BRI chief Simon Riondet told AFP. An imminent threat to the young woman would have provoked the intervention of the BRI forces. But without immediate danger, time could be used for a different outcome.

And the resolution of the situation will ultimately not be trivial. According to our information, the Prefect of Police himself spoke orally with the madman and suggested that he go out in front of the building. Which he did, walking through the door with the last hostage to be arrested without violence.

He has since been admitted to the psychiatric infirmary of the Paris police headquarters. The investigation was opened under the authority of the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office for aggravated forcible confinement, willful violence with a weapon and carrying a category D weapon.