Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Court convicts French policemen over black man’s death

A French court on Tuesday found three police officers guilty of manslaughter following the death of a black man in Paris in 2015.

• September 20, 2022
Court room
Court room

A French court on Tuesday found three police officers guilty of manslaughter following the death of a black man in Paris in 2015.

The court sentenced each to a 15-month suspended jail term.

Amadou Koume, 33, died after he was pinned to the ground by officers in a bar and put in a chokehold.

Mr Koume was subsequently left on his front, his hands cuffed behind his back, for more than six minutes.

In the order for reference consulted by AFP, the examining magistrate notes “the lack of discernment” of the officials who kept him on the ground for more than six minutes on his stomach, hands handcuffed behind his back, in a bar when it “no longer presented any danger to others”.

According to the police, Mr Koume was clearly under the influence of a psychotic crisis, which was noted at the police station where he was taken on the night of March 6, 2015.

However, after the final medical examination was carried out, it concluded that he had succumbed to “pulmonary edema” caused by “the combination of slow mechanical asphyxia and cocaine intoxication.”

AFP said the magistrate added that “the cervical and laryngeal trauma” caused by a strangulation key had “participated in the occurrence of this asphyxia,” also “favoured” by its immobilisation on the ground.

According to the order for reference issued on November 2, “the death could have taken place without impregnation of cocaine and solely because of slow mechanical asphyxiation.”

On the other hand, the magistrate accused the three police officers of never having checked Mr Koumé’s state of health “despite his psychiatric vulnerability.”

She considers them responsible for “failures” which led to the death, justifying their trial for “manslaughter.”

The prosecutions for non-assistance to a person in danger are dropped.

However, the police officer defended himself before the examining magistrate by invoking the urgency in the face of a “very significant risk” that Mr Koumé, endowed with “Herculean strength,” seized one of the weapons of his colleagues. 

(Reuters/NAN) 

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