One of the victims remains hospitalized after the police vehicle ran into her alongside her brother and friend last month during Ramadan while on their way home back from praying at a mosque.
Paris has once again witnessed a massive protest in its streets against the ongoing police brutality in the country, in light of the recent incident of three Muslim teens being run over by a police car, which seriously wounded them. The attack was labeled by their attorney as an “assassination attempt.”
The family and friends of the three victims took part in the protests alongside many of the country’s youth. The victims were hospitalized after the police vehicle ran into their scooters last month during Ramadan while they were on their way home back from praying at a mosque.
Signs and banners were held while slogans were sung against the recurring incidents of police brutality and violence in France.
The family member of one of the victims expressed, “Our children should not be hit by police,” adding during the protest, “The police are supposed to be there to protect us, not to hurt us.”
“My sister is in critical condition, still hospitalized. My brother has a kidney injury. My family is going through a hard time. We are participating in this rally to tell the children that we support them and that this must not happen again,” she further stated. “Today we are marching because Safyatou, Salif, and Ilan ended up in hospital. They have all been affected, and this is not normal.”
Local media reports that the injured include a 17-year-old girl driving a scooter, her 13-year-old brother, and another 14-year-old boy. The girl remains in the hospital due to serious injuries to her head, while her brother was injured in the kidneys and the other boy on the knee.
According to local press reports, Paris police prefect Laurent Nunez approved the suspension of the three officers from duty.
15 investigations of police brutality against demonstrators have been opened in France as of March, amid widespread protests that opposed French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, local media reported on Saturday.
‘We can’t kill children’
Even though French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin admitted that the police officers had committed “actions that were not appropriate”, the victims’ lawyer, Arié Alimi, said, “When you take chase and you prepare to run over a vehicle with three minors on it, it can effectively be considered an assassination attempt,” he told the FranceInfo news outlet on April 21 after the incident.
“What’s going through a police officer’s head when they’re driving their vehicle committing this act? Where is the training?”
A formal legal complaint has been filed by the attorney over “attempted murder by a person holding public authority, with a weapon by destination, on minors”, as he noted that witnesses have been “threatened with arrest [and] intimidated,” adding his intention to lodge a complaint of “measures of intimidation”, “threatening a witness” and “intimidation aiming to hinder the investigation.”
The lawyer also criticized Darmanin for his “late intervention” and for the “desire for a cover-up, intimidation to prevent the investigation from taking place and the truth from coming out”.
“This must stop. The next time, there will be deaths. These are children. We can’t kill children”.
Assa Traore, the sister of Adamad Traore, a Muslim and African victim of police violence killed in police custody in 2016, was also in attendance at the protest as she cried out: “Because yesterday it was Zyed and Bouna, today it is Salif, Ilan and Safyatou, tomorrow it could be your children! We should march for the lives of our children. Our children do not have to die!”