Call for protest after French officers cleared over black man's death in custody

AP - Thomas Padilla

French investigating magistrates have dropped their case against three gendarmes over the 2016 death of a young black man in custody that sparked violent protests, lawyers said Friday. The victim's sister is calling for a rally next week to protest what she says is a "miscarriage of justice".

Adama Traore, 24, died shortly after being arrested in the town of Beaumont-sur-Oise, with his death triggering accusations of police brutality and racism, and several nights of protests.

Gendarmes are police-style units often used for law enforcement in rural areas.

Authorities said at the time that an autopsy revealed he had been suffering from a serious infection and that his body showed few signs of violence.

Investigating magistrates were tasked with probing whether the three arresting officers used disproportionate force against Traore whom they apprehended after a chase in July 2016 during a heatwave with temperatures of 37 Celsius during a police operation targeting his brother, Bagui.

The officers were never charged.

Shame for French justice

The Traore family's lawyer, Yassine Bouzrou, said Friday he would appeal the magistrates' decision, which he said was based on "contradictions, inconsistencies and serious violations of the law".

The object of the appeal was to get the Paris appeals court to order the three officers to stand trial, he told French news agency AFP.

"We contest this dismissal of the case which is a shame for French justice, which is a shame for France," she said.

(with newswires)

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
France denies police racism is widespread, but evidence tells another story
In a Paris suburb, young people learn how to handle discriminatory police stops
French watchdog investigates allegations of police violence during riots