Police officers are obliged to give an account of every incident they are involved in. But what happened today will never be logged. Because that’s what police solidarity means: what happens in the van stays in the van.
Well, not always. Not this time.
What really happens behind the walls of a police station? To answer this question, investigative journalist Valentin Gendrot put his life on hold for two years and became the first journalist in history to infiltrate the police undetected.
Within three months of training to become an officer, he was given a permit to carry a weapon in public. And although he lived in daily fear of being discovered, in his book Gendrot hides nothing.
Assigned to work in a tough area of Paris where tensions between the law and locals ran high, Gendrot witnessed police brutality, racism, blunders, and cover-ups. But he also saw the oppressive working conditions that officers endured, and mourned the tragic suicide of a colleague.
Asking important questions about who holds institutional power and how we can hold them to account, Cop is a gripping exposé of a world never before seen by outsiders.
‘An explosive new book by an investigative journalist has drawn fresh attention to police brutality and racism in France … chronicles the author’s training and the six months he spent as a police officer in one of Paris’ poorest districts … its vivid portrayal underlines how France’s history of racism and present-day police tactics have remained relatively unexamined.’
Matt Bradley, NBC News
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‘A journalist who spent almost six months undercover in a Paris police force witnessed racism, almost daily violence, and a culture of impunity for officers who mistreated civilians … The book’s release follows a period of increased criticism of police in France.’
Jamie Clifton, Vice
‘A remarkable coup … True crime doesn't get more real than this.’
Mark Sanderson, Crime Club
‘A courageous investigation. Cop reveals insights that will be familiar to those at the receiving end of racist policing anywhere.’
Antony Loewenstein, The Saturday Paper
Alastair Mabbott, The Herald