David Galtier in Paris on September 17, 2020 -

Thibaut Chevillard

  • General David Galtier spent forty years in the gendarmerie.

  • A long career during which he worked on high profile criminal cases.

  • In a book published this Thursday, the one who got into politics in Marseille explains how the investigators worked on these cases and tells how the judicial police mission has evolved within the gendarmerie.

General David Galtier spent forty years in the gendarmerie.

And during his career, the soldier worked on the most publicized criminal cases: the assassination of little Grégory, the arrest of Omar Raddad, the murder of Elodie Kulik ...

In a book, published by Robert Laffont *, the one who recently embarked on politics in Marseille explains how investigators handled these cases and recounts the evolution of the judicial police mission within the gendarmerie.

Why did you feel the need to write this book?

My family asked me, because during my thirty-seven years of service in the gendarmerie, I told my people very little about what was going on.

So I had to explain to them what I had spent all this time on, why it took so long to solve cases, so time consuming.

I also wanted, through this book, to thank and pay tribute to all these gendarmes and investigators that I met and who taught me the trade, helped me.

Finally, during my career, I have been marked by some pretty terrible and difficult affairs.

Each time, I tried to get closer to the families of the victims.

I also wanted to put the victims back at the heart of these cases, because we often talk about the perpetrators but not enough about them and their relatives.

The first chapter deals with the Grégory affair.

A case, you say, which "bruised" the gendarmerie.

What lessons has she learned from it?

This case marked a turning point in the history of the judicial police of the gendarmerie.

You have to put things in context: if criticism is easy, you have to remember the means available to investigators at the time.

The genetics were unknown, the files were in their infancy ...

On the other hand, the Grégory affair enabled the hierarchy to become aware of the absences, the needs, the shortages.

It was necessary for the judicial police mission to gain momentum within the institution.

The gendarmerie therefore developed means of collecting evidence, the technical and scientific police [the PTS] created the IRCGN [Criminal Research Institute of the National Gendarmerie], modified its organization to provide investigators with the means they had. need to solve criminal cases.

Years after the Grégory affair, the progress made by the gendarmes in matters of PTS made it possible to identify one of Elodie Kulik's murderers ...

For once, Captain Emmanuel Pham Hoai, assigned at the time to the IRCGN, did a remarkable job!

It was impossible to find in the Fnaeg [the National Automatic DNA File] a DNA compatible with 100% with the trace found on the victim ten years earlier.

But maybe one was 50%.

It could then be a relative of the murderer.

But at the time, this technique was prohibited.

It took two more years to complete this work.

The investigators thus discovered a DNA close to that of the rapist of the young woman.

He had two children: one was too young to be the author.

The other, who had died, matched.

This technique was subsequently used to solve other cases, notably to identify Inass [a little girl whose body was discovered in August 1987 on the A10, in the Loir-et-Cher] and to find her parents. .

Several years after Elodie Kulik's death, a suspect was identified through his DNA, and another was convicted by the courts.

But not all businesses know this end ...

The gendarmerie handles half of the homicides committed in France each year.

About 80% of them are cleared up.

As for the others, they were not, at the time, the subject of a follow-up at the national level.

When I took the head of the SDPJ [Criminal investigation department], I set up the shom base [summary of unsolved homicides].

We are committed to not letting go, it is a bit the hallmark of the Pandora.

We owe a minimum of commitment to the relatives of the victims.

Elodie Kulik's father, who has known many misfortunes, held on because he had the hope of seeing the culprits found and sentenced.

You also mention terrorism in the book.

How has this phenomenon evolved since your beginnings in 1982?

We went from a “centralized” terrorism, with small groups which were known and followed discreetly, to a “decentralized” terrorism, with people of all profiles who rapidly radicalized without being detected by their environment.

When I started out, the gendarmes were not very involved in investigations, except for the information we provided to the DST or to the RG.

But we were hardly ever seized on terrorism cases, except on those which concerned the Corsican separatists or the PKK.

With time, the magistrates evolve and seize more and more the gendarmes.

On the other hand, you have to be able to be very reactive, to intervene quickly ... We have shown that we are capable of tracking down terrorists in the territory because we are better positioned than other services to do so.

We are sometimes criticized for being a little "visible" with the use of helicopters, the establishment of roadblocks ... But this is not always useless, especially when the threat is significant and immediate, as with the Kouachi brothers. .

The gendarmerie, you point out, is very at the forefront of the fight against cybercrime.

How do you analyze it?

Drug trafficking, drugs… You can find everything on the Internet.

The gendarmerie was made aware of the cyber domain in the 1980s, through pedophilia cases on the Net.

These were the first computers and we had to find ways to find evidence in these machines.

This has enabled a good number of investigators to specialize in this area.

Today, this experience allows our specialized units to lead investigations on the dark web.

You left the gendarmerie in January 2019. Since then, you have entered politics in Marseille.

Why ?

At 61, I was not tired.

I am neither a handyman nor a gardener, and I wanted to move on.

After twenty-two years in Paris, I wanted to return to my native south.

I was offered to get into politics and then everything happened naturally.

People understood that I didn't want to embark on a second career, but that I wanted to give back a little to others, to the State, to the country, what I was given for forty years.

Besides, I am not the only one and I notice that high ranking officers are starting to emerge in the political landscape.

On the basis of your experience, do you think that the Minister of the Interior is right to speak of “the enslavement” of society?

Doing a vocabulary expert is of no interest.

It is enough to look at the statistics to know if there is more or less delinquency, attacks against the people… And the observation is not good.

For me, there are more than yesterday.

Forty years ago, there was no such violence in everyday life.

I think we have to react.

After that, it does not matter whether we say that it is “the wildness” or whatever.

We need more social cohesion, to come together around common values ​​that bring us together.

This is the only way to fight against delinquency.

There is no point in multiplying the number of law enforcement agencies by two or three.

It is also necessary to give the means to justice and that the magistrates question themselves in their mode of formation, in their organization, in their legitimacy and in the follow-up of the condemned.

* "My fight against crime", by David Galtier.

Editions Robert Laffont, ISBN 9782221246375, 331 pages, 20 euros


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