Three French police charged over man's death during riots

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Three French police charged over man's death during riots
French riot police officers next to a burning out trash bin during rioting in Marseille. Illustration photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP

Three French police officers were charged on Thursday over the death of a 27-year-old man in the southern city of Marseille in early July during nationwide rioting, prosecutors said.


The three will be charged with "armed violence", the prosecutor said, after the autopsy of the man who died during riots showed marks on his chest consistent with the impact of a shot from a blast ball commonly used by police.

The three are also banned from having any contact with plaintiffs in the case, and from participating in any police contingent concerned with urban riot control or large-scale events.


They had been arrested on Tuesday over the incident, the only known death linked to the unrest that gripped France in late June and early July over killing of a teenager by a policeman during a traffic check outside Paris on June 27th.

The riots were met by a forceful police response.

The man, Mohamed Bendriss - a married father of one whose widow is now expecting a second child - died after feeling unwell while riding a scooter.

The prosecutor's office has said it considers it "probable" that the man's death was "caused by a violent impact to the thorax caused by the firing of a projectile of the blast ball type".

The decision by the prosecutor comes after a separate case in which four Marseille officers were charged with a violent assault on a 21-year-old man, which also took place during the rioting. He was so badly injured that surgeons had to remove a large part of his skull to save his life.

After one of the charged officers was remanded in custody, police in Marseille called in sick en masse in protest, while officers across the country placed themselves on restricted duties - essentially refusing to respond to non-emergency calls.

READ ALSO Why are police in Marseille refusing to go to work?


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