Metro Weekly

French police officer killed in terrorist attack was gay rights activist

Xavier Jugele had previously protested against Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws

Xavier Jugele – Photo: Association of LGBT Police in France.

“He was a simple man who loved his job, and he was really committed to the LGBT cause.”

Mickaël Bucheron, president of the LGBTQ French association Flag, remembering French police office Xavier Jugelé, a 37-year-old Paris police officer who was killed after a terrorist gunman opened fire on his police vehicle on the Champs-Élysées on Thursday.

Jugelé’s killer was also shot and killed while trying to flee the scene. The Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attack.

Jugelé had joined Flag a few years ago, and had taken part in protests against Russian restrictions on material it felt was “gay propaganda” when the country hosted the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014, Bucheron said.

He had also been among the officers who responded to the scene of a terrorist attack at the Bataclan concert hall in November 2015, and was in the crowd when the building was reopened a year later, reports The New York Times.

Jugelé, who leaves behind a partner with whom he was in a civil union, had been preparing to leave the Paris police force and join the Judicial Police, an agency that pursues suspects and serves them with search warrants. 

“He was aware of the risks of the job and the terrorist threat, although we did not speak a lot about it,” Bucheron says. “He was a great man and friend; it is a big shock for us.”

French President François Hollande has said that the government will hold an official tribute to honore Jugelé in the coming days.

French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl has said that flags at police stations will be flown at half-staff in tribute to Jugelé and two other officers who were wounded in the attack.

While attending a Sting concert marking the reopening of the Bataclan, Jugelé told People Magazine that he was happy to be at there with others to commemorate the 90 people lost in the massacre and to show terrorists that they have not won. 

“We’re here tonight as witnesses. Here to defend our civic values,” he said. “This concert’s to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.” 

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com