When your life is put in danger, the natural instinct is to escape the situation. However, if fleeing is not an option, the body will do whatever it takes to defend itself.
In May 2016, 2 police officers in France were the target of a violent hate-fueled attack. Even though they believed they were about to die at the hands of their attackers, 1 of the officers refused to do the 1 thing that would ensure their safety, and now he’s being hailed a hero for it…
A Normal Day On Patrol
On a typical afternoon in May 2016, Kevin Philippy, a 28-year-old probationary police officer, was driving around the streets of Paris with his partner, Allison Barthelemy. The pair had been on patrol when they suddenly got held up in traffic on a narrow city street.
Shortly after turning onto the Quai de Valmy in the 10th arrondissement, traffic came to a complete standstill. While traffic can be a huge frustration, it’s not normally life-threatening. But that afternoon, the bumper-to-bumper traffic nearly cost them both their lives…
At the time, reforms in French labor laws had led to protests across the country’s capital city that were turning violent as the hard-left and anarchist activists were using the demonstrations as opportunities to carry out brutal attacks against police officers.
A Police Demonstration
Earlier that morning, police unions across the country had gathered and held demonstrations to highlight the anti-police sentiments and violent attacks they were being subjected to during the controversial labor reform protests. According to the police, they were just trying to do their job and keep the peace…
That same day, hard-left protesters decided to gather for a counter-demonstration. However, the protesters were denied permission to hold their march because of alleged violence against police. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop them.
The March Continues
After being denied permission to hold a counter-demonstration, about 300 hard-left and anarchist protesters marched through the streets of the city to express their disapproval of the police and claiming they were victims of police brutality…
A Chance Encounter
While marching through the streets, the demonstrators started chanting “Cops, pigs, killers!” Eventually, the protestors ran into a police car that was completely stopped in traffic on the Quai de Valmy in the 10th arrondissement, and they weren’t going to let the opportunity slip away from them.
Nowhere To Escape
Officers Kevin Philippy and Allison Barthelemy were inside the police car. At that point, they were already at a complete stop because of traffic. However, when a group of 15 masked protesters surrounded their police vehicle, they had nowhere to go…
The Violent Mob
“There’s cops, come one, let’s f**k them up,” someone from the aggressive mob was recorded screaming when they came across the police car by chance. The young men, who were all masked and hooded, circled the car and started hitting the glass windows.
Caught On Camera
During the attack, which was filmed by multiple passers-by, the men took iron bars and metal bollards that they had torn from the roads and started smashing them against the trunk window of the police car. Soon enough, the glass shattered leaving a gaping hole in the car window…
The men lit a smoke bomb or a molotov cocktail and threw it through the broken window. As they hoped, it exploded in the car, which caught on fire with the 2 officers still inside. To avoid being burned by the flames, the police had no choice but to exit the car and face the violent mob.
The Viral Footage
In the video of the attack, which was posted online and quickly shared and viewed by millions of people around the world, 28-year-old Kevin jumped out of the car to escape the danger. However, when he got out of the car, he realized he and his partner weren’t safe yet…
1 of the violent protesters charged at Kevin and started swinging an iron bar. Without thinking, Kevin’s hand went straight for his gun in its holster knowing that it had the power to save him, his partner, and get the unruly crowd under control.
The ‘Kung Fu Cop’
However, in that moment, Kevin knew that if he responded violently, it would only prove his attackers right. So instead of drawing his weapon, Kevin used his arms to impressively block and evade the attacker, who was trying to hit him with a metal bar…
Blocking The Attack
Kevin’s partner, Allison, thought they were both about to be killed since they were largely outnumbered by the mob. Seconds later, however, Kevin jumped in front of her, deftly blocked their attacker’s swings and punches, and gave them enough time to run off.
Kevin had no choice but to leave behind the burning police car, but when people saw how bravely, calmly, and skillfully he reacted in a tense situation, they hailed him a hero and dubbed him the ‘Kung fu cop.’ In the moment, however, Kevin only cared about keeping the situation from escalating and getting away from the attackers…
The Roast Chicken
Once Kevin and Allison had retreated, the attackers put a cardboard sign on their car, which read ‘Roast Chicken going free.” In French, chicken is a slang word for a police officer. When officials heard what happened and saw the video of the attack, they applauded the pair for their reactions.
Awards And Promotions
In a ceremony, the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, awarded both Kevin and Allison the “gold internal security medal”, the highest French police award. Kevin was also promoted from a probationary police officer to a full officer even though he had recently failed his entrance exam…
A Proud Moment For The Police
“What made me extremely proud was your extreme self-control. (Here was) a police officer who was strong in his own personality and values not just strong because he had a gun,” Cazeneuve said. “Many of my colleagues suffer far worse. They are the heroes, not me,” Kevin said.
A Lasting Image
“The images of the violence they were subject to will stay etched in the memory of the French people for a long time. Because, after the protests and tensions have passed … we will keep one image in our minds: That of a police officer stepping out of a vehicle with one single objective in mind, to protect his colleague,” Cazeneuve said. “If I had taken out my weapon or shot, I would have gone from being a hero to zero,” Kevin added. “My career could have ended there.”