French security officers cleared over black man’s death in custody

© Bertrand Guay, AFP

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.

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.

Read moreFrench suburbs: Fresh protests against police violence rooted in decades of harassment, inequality

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 (99 Fahrenheit) during a police operation targeting his brother, Bagui.

The officers were never charged.


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