Three French police officers have been found guilty of manslaughter after a black man died when he was pinned to the ground and strangled outside a Paris bar in 2015.

Amadou Koume, whose name became a rallying cry against police brutality, died of “slow mechanical asphyxiation”, according to a medical examiner, a court heard during his trial.

Koome, 33, has been described in the media by his partner Jessica Lefebvre, who has led a long campaign for justice, as suffering from psychological problems. He underwent voluntary inpatient treatment for panic attacks, hallucinations, and feelings of persecution.

On the day he died, the father-of-three had taken the day off to take his road test but failed to attend the test. Around 11:30 p.m., he went into a bar near Paris’ Gare du Nord, ordered a beer and sat down.

The bar staff noticed that Kume started talking to himself, was incoherent and raised his voice. The bartender called the police and said there was a man with psychological problems. The police arrived just after midnight and decided to detain him.

Kume died after officers at the bar pinned him to the ground, choked him and then left him lying with his hands cuffed behind his back for more than six minutes.

The French ombudsman warned before the case went to court that when faced with someone “in a situation of great psychological vulnerability”, dialogue was not enough and an emergency doctor should be called.

The court heard that Kume did not pose a danger to others at the time of his arrest.

At the trial, the public prosecutor said that necessary and proportionate force was used to immobilize Kume, but the officers were negligent in leaving him on the front line.

Three policemen, who were not present at the sentencing, received 15 months of conditional arrest. The two officers were found guilty of failing to control the use of force and leaving Koome on the front line without checking his health. A more senior officer was found guilty of “a succession of negligence and shortcomings”.

There was no confirmation whether the police will appeal.

“We knew there would be no jail time, but the fact that they were found guilty gives us peace of mind,” Kumeh Habi’s older sister told Reuters outside the courtroom.

Eddie Arnett, a lawyer for the Kume family, called the sentence lenient. During the trial, Arnetton said the officers appeared to think of Coome as an “animal,” describing him in court testimony as “grunting” during the incident.

Human rights groups warn that allegations of brutal, racist treatment of people by French police are going largely unaddressed, particularly in the city’s poor suburbs.

In 2020, with public outrage over racial discrimination following the death of George Floyd in police custody in the US, the French government has pledged “zero tolerance” for racism in law enforcement.

Sébastien Roche, a political scientist at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, told Reuters the sentence was light but in line with past sanctions handed down by courts in similar cases.

“We note that the French judiciary has problems with convictions and sanctions of the police,” he said.

Source link

Previous articleHillsborough Castle Gardens is carrying flowers left to the Queen
Next articleWarn everyone you know – a dangerous WhatsApp text is harming MILLIONS