More than seven years after the death of Amadou Koumé during his arrest with a strangulation key in Paris, three police officers have been sentenced to fifteen months suspended imprisonment for manslaughter.
The death of this 33-year-old father was recorded at the tenth arrondissement police station on the night of March 5 to 6, 2015, after his violent arrest at the Hide Out bar, near the Gare du Nord, where he was in prey to a crisis of dementia.
After a trial which ended on July 4, the criminal court on Tuesday found the three police officers guilty of “mistakes” which “certainly” led to the death of Amadou Koumé.
In his deliberations delivered in the absence of the defendants, President Edmond Brunaud recalled the content of the final medical expertise, which concluded that the victim had succumbed to “slow mechanical asphyxia” linked to two “strangulation maneuvers” and keeping him on the ground for more than six minutes on his stomach with his hands cuffed behind his back, before flex ties were attached to his legs.
Anthony B., at the time a peacekeeper in the Anti-Crime Squad (BAC), author of the two strangulation keys, was sentenced for use of force “admittedly legitimate”, but “not sufficiently controlled” , as well as for having left Mr. Koumé in the prone position without inquiring about his state of health.
Sébastien P., brigadier of the BAC who pressed his knee on the lumbar then the arm of Amadou Koumé, showed an “obvious lack of discernment” by not being “interested in (his) state of health after a very hectic arrest” and when he did not represent at that time “no longer any danger”, according to the court.
He sees himself exonerated from registration in the criminal record.
Major Didier M. was guilty of “a succession of negligence and shortcomings” as “responsible for the operation”, refraining from giving instructions. During the transport by van to the police station, he also did not “call 15” when Amadou Koumé was “dying”.
A controversial technique for years, the choke key, banned in the gendarmerie and replaced in 2021 in the police, is at the heart of several investigations opened after the death of men arrested.
In this case, the court considered that, contrary to their assertions, the police officers had indeed been aware of a note from the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) of 2008 warning against the dangers of ventral immobilization .
This note followed a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which had condemned France after the death by “postural asphyxia” in Toulon in 1998 of Mohamed Saoud, arrested during an episode of schizophrenia. violent.
The fifteen-month suspended sentence “underlines the seriousness of the facts” but “takes into account” the clean record of the defendants, according to the president. The prosecution had requested a one-year suspended sentence.
The family had filed a complaint with civil action, relaunching the investigations after a filing without follow-up. She demanded a trial at the assizes. His lawyers denounced during the hearing “extremely serious, harsh violence against a vulnerable person”.
“It was very important to know that my brother did not leave like that, we know that there were a lot of shortcomings and that they acted badly on him”, reacted Habi Koumé, older sister of Amadou Koumé. . “That’s why the word guilty is very, very important.”
“Mr. Koumé died on March 6, 2015, lying on his stomach, ankle flex cuffs and handcuffed behind his back. It took seven years of legal battle to hear today that three people are guilty,” said Me Eddy Arneton, one of their advisers.
“Hearing the word guilty naturally is a satisfaction in such a case, but the sentence is relatively lenient, so there is a bit of justice that is done (…) It’s a step, and we welcome it as such “, he added.
The police advice did not wish to speak immediately or could not be reached.
The defence, which pleaded for release, has ten days to appeal.