Sentenced for psychological and physical violence against his wife, the man was promoted to New Caledonia. A choice that questions at a time of major political declarations against violence against women.
It’s a scandal revealed by Mediapart this Wednesday, August 18, 2021: “Sentenced by justice for domestic violence, a colonel of the gendarmerie is promoted”, title the news site. Colonel Éric Steiger, promoted on July 8 to head of the gendarmerie command in New Caledonia, was nevertheless sentenced in May 2021 for domestic violence. The facts are serious: physical and psychological violence resulting in 5 days of total incapacity for work (ITT) and earned him a six-month suspended prison sentence. This penalty was then reduced to a fine of 6,000 euros by the Paris Court of Appeal.
The magistrates indicate that the man admitted the facts: “Returning to his position of previous denial, Eric Steiger said he realized that his behavior towards his wife had been violent and he wanted to recognize his responsibility […]. He could tell today that it was his inability to speak with his wife that had led to his violent reactions. ” . His wife’s complaint had triggered a ban on contacting her, going to her home and an obligation to provide psychiatric care, following the conclusions of the medical expertise made during her custody. seen.
Misunderstanding of the policeman’s wife
His wife tells Mediapart the permanent humiliations, then the physical bullying against which their 16-year-old daughter must intervene so that they stop. “How does a violent man in his private life […] could he occupy such a position requiring irreproachable ethics and behavior? How could such a paradox occur, given all the projects initiated by the gendarmerie against domestic violence? “, asks Sophie on Mediapart.
The departure of the requested colonel
Elected officials from New Caledonia demanded the departure of Eric Steiger in the face of these revelations, demanding a logic of exemplarity and coherence in the political discourse concerning violence against women first. These elected officials also highlight the specificities of the territory then: “In a country where 22% of women are victims of domestic violence, it is a territorial cause for all institutions including the State, we cannot have the commander of the gendarmerie who was convicted of violence on his wife ” explains Sonia Backès, elected in New Caledonia at the microphone of France Info.
For the time being, neither the Ministry of the Interior, nor Marlène Schiappa, Minister for Citizenship, have reacted to this promotion and to this request for departure.