Three French police officers have been charged with “armed violence unintentionally causing death” of a man during nationwide riots earlier this summer, prosecutors said on Thursday.
A 27-year-old man died in Marseille shortly after he was evidently shot by a blast ball commonly used by the police.
The prosecutors said it was “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 autopsy of the man showed marks on the chest consistent with a blast ball impact, prosecutors added.
Charging police officers in a criminal case for on-duty violence is uncommon in France.
What do we know about the incident?
The young man, Mohamed Bendriss, was a married father. He is survived by his one child and pregnant wife.
The prosecution’s office indicated that at the time of the incident, Bendriss was being pursued by police on his scooter, after he may have looted a store.
He was hit by one projectile, apparently to his chest as per the autopsy report, and another projectile hit his scooter.
Though Bendriss continued to flee on his scooter, he later suffered cardio-respiratory arrest and died, the prosecutors said.
Five police officers were taken into custody on Tuesday in connection to the incident. Two were later quickly released.
The death came during massive riots across France during late June and early July, which were sparked by the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy at a traffic stop.
The shooting generated a wave of nationwide protests against police violence, which in many cases developed into riots.
Bendriss is the only known death to have resulted from the riots.
rmt/wmr (AFP, dpa)