The Paris Criminal Court on Tuesday, September 20 sentenced three police officers to fifteen months suspended imprisonment for manslaughter, after the death, on March 6, 2015, of Amadou Koumé during his arrest in a bar in the capital. This 33-year-old father, that evening in a crisis of dementia, had succumbed to a "slow mechanical asphyxiation"tied to two strangulation keys and keeping him on the ground for a total of more than six minutes on his stomach, his hands handcuffed behind his back.
The court sentenced the same sentence to Anthony B., 46, the peacekeeper who committed the strangulation gestures, Sébastien P., 48, at the time a brigadier, who pressed his knee on the lower back and on the arm of Amadou Koumé, and Major Didier M., 62, the highest ranking officer that evening. They were found guilty of "mistakes" directly related to the death of Mr. Koumé, the first for his use of force, “certainly legitimate”but “insufficiently mastered”as well as for having left the victim in a prone position without inquiring about his state of health.
Sébastien P. demonstrated a "obvious lack of discernment" in no way"interesting not to [son] state of health after a very eventful arrest " and while he only represented at that time "no more danger", according to the court. Didier M. is guilty of"a succession of negligence and shortcomings" inasmuch as "operation manager"present in the bar, during transport in the van and on arrival at the police station, where Mr. Koumé was found dead.
“There is a bit of justice that is done”
More than seven years after his death, the family, whose complaint with civil action had relaunched the investigations after a filing without follow-up, had come to hear the decision in court on Thursday morning. "Hearing the word guilty, of course, is a satisfaction in such a case, but the sentence is relatively lenient, so there is a bit of justice that is done"reacted Me Eddy Arneton, their lawyer.
“It will not bring back Amadou Koumé, nevertheless his family now knows precisely the circumstances in which he died and also knows that his death was due to police officers, so it is a step, and we welcome as such”he added.
Anthony B.'s counsel declined to comment immediately. The defense, which had pleaded for release during the trial, which was held from June 27 to July 4, has ten days to appeal. The prosecutor had requested a one-year suspended prison sentence against the three police officers. A controversial technique, the choke key, banned in the gendarmerie and officially replaced in 2021 in the police, is at the heart of several investigations opened after the death of men arrested.