Paris protesters slam French police brutality after attack on Muslim teens

Protesters in the French capital Paris have once again rallied against persisting police brutality in the country after three Muslim teens were run over by a police vehicle and seriously injured, a move described by their lawyer as an “assassination attempt.”

Among those taking part in the protest rally on Sunday and demanding an end to police violence — especially against minors — were family and friends of the three victims, who had to be hospitalized after a police car rammed into their scooter last month as they were returning home from a mosque during the holy month of Ramadhan.

The protesters also carried signs and placards and chanted slogans against increasing police brutality across the European country that often purports to advocate for human rights in other countries.

“Our children should not be hit by police,” said a relative of one of the teens taking part in the protest rally. “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 added. “Today we are marching because Safyatou, Salif and Ilan ended up in hospital. They have all been affected, and this is not normal.”

According to local press reports, the injured children were a 17-year-old girl, who was driving the scooter, her 13-year-old brother and another boy aged 14. The girl was hospitalized following the incident, her brother injured in the kidneys and the other boy was hurt on the knee.

The girl still remains in the hospital, suffering from serious injuries to her head..

‘Assassination attempt’

While French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin admitted that the police officers had committed “actions that were not appropriate” and been suspended from duties pending the investigation, the attorney representing the families of the victims described the police action against the Muslim teens as an “assassination attempt.”

“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,” said the attorney, Arié Alimi as quoted by FranceInfo news outlet on April 21 shortly 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?”

Alimi has filed a formal legal complaint over “attempted murder by a person holding public authority, with a weapon by destination, on minors”.

He further pointed out that witnesses to the police action had been “threatened with arrest [and] intimidated,” noting that he would also be looking 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” in the flagrant police brutality case and said that “procedural errors” had been in the works from the beginning following the incident.

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