A policewoman who led a group that raised awareness about violence against French officers has been found dead, amid a wave of suicides in the country’s law enforcement community.
Maggy Biskupski, 36, was discovered dead in her home outside Paris, having apparently shot herself with her service weapon. She was the founder and leader of France’s Angry Police Movement, or MPC, which she created after two officers were badly injured by a Molotov cocktail attack in 2016. The incident sparked demonstrations by France’s police force, with protesters denouncing the rise of anti-police sentiment and demanding more resources to improve public safety.
The outspoken officer had been under investigation for speaking to the media about attacks against the police without permission from her superiors.
Her death marks 30 police suicides in France since January, according to AFP. But other outlets have reported higher tallies. The recent suicide of Antoine Boutonnet, France’s former police chief in charge of fighting hooliganism, put this year’s tally at 45, not including 16 suicides by members of the country’s military police, The Local France claims.
Officials and party leaders from across France’s political spectrum mourned Biskupski’s passing, with some using the tragedy to draw attention to the plight of the country’s police.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner expressed “profound sadness” over the death of a woman who was “committed to a cause, that of defending the police, their honor, and their resources.”
Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally Party, said Biskupski’s death was a “terrible symbol of the police suffering she so tirelessly denounced.”
In the past few years, French police have been the target of a number of high-profile attacks and murders. In June 2016, a police officer and his wife were stabbed to death in Magnanville. A year later, a police officer was shot dead and two other officers were wounded in an attack in Paris.