Three French police officers charged in Marseille over man’s death during riots


Prosecutors on Thursday said that three French police officers were charged for the death of a 27-year-old man during widespread rioting earlier this summer in a rare instance of cops being prosecuted for on-the-job violence.

According to authorities, the man who died in Marseille during the riots had marks on his chest consistent with being struck by a shot from a police blast ball.

Tuesday saw the policemen’s arrests in connection with the incident.

The turmoil that engulfed France in late June and early July over the June 27 death of a teenager by a police officer during a traffic check outside of Paris was the sole known death during, or on the fringes of, that unrest, AFP reported.

The riots were met by a forceful police response.

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

Prosecutors have said they consider 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 three will be charged with “armed violence unintentionally causing death”.

Additionally, the prosecutor’s office also said the victim may have been involved in the looting of a shoe outlet in the city.

Indications were that Bendriss had been involved in a theft from the shop and was being pursued by police as he rode his scooter away.

As he rode on the pavement past the police, he was hit by one projectile. Another — a so-called bean bag round — hit his scooter.

He rode on but was later found to have suffered cardio-respiratory arrest and died, the prosecutors said.

In all, five police officers from the elite Raid unit were taken into custody on Tuesday. Two were soon released.__The News