The perp walk

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is finding out all too closely the difference between the US and France when it comes to rooting politicians.

If anyone was in any doubt about the enormous gulf that exists between how the French and American republics conduct their politics, then they need look no further than the harrowing image of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF chief  and putative presidential candidate, being led away in handcuffs by a bunch of New York cops after being subjected to the indignity of a DNA test. In America this is called the “perp walk”, and it’s supposed to be humiliating.

This sort of thing simply doesn’t happen in France, where the sexual peccadilloes of its leading politicians are simply taken for granted. As my colleague Anne-Elisabeth Moutet wrote this morning, it was an open secret in France that Mr Strauss-Kahn had an eye for the ladies, and at one point tore off a young journalist’s bra when she took his fancy.  No one ever thought to contact the police because this is the type of behaviour everyone in France expects of their politicians.

Unbelievable behaviour….ripping off a journalists bra! And it is expected!

Any attempt by a French policeman to handcuff a prominent politician would be tantamount to committing an act of treason. In America it doesn’t matter whether you are OJ Simpson or an international statesman of the stature of Mr Strauss Kahn: if the cops believe you’ve broken the law, you’ll soon find yourself paraded in public in handcuffs before being thrown in the slammer.

Clearly, so far as New York’s cops are concerned, there is no such thing as the entente cordial.

Hmmm…could we be seeing a similar perp walk here soon?






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  • The speed with which the New York police dragged Strauss-Kahn out of the first-class cabin of the Air France plane, obtained his DNA and locked him up is in strong contrast with the New Zealand police’s investigation of the allegations against Darren Hughes. Surely, eleven weeks after the alleged encounter, there should be some sort of decision from the police.