France: A tear gas grenade that killed a woman “may have been fired directly at her apartment” | France


A report on the death of an 80-year-old woman struck by a tear gas canister during a yellow vests A protest in 2018 suggested that the policeman shot directly at his apartment.

Zineb Redouane was closing the shutters of her fourth-floor apartment in central Marseille when she was hit by the cartridge. Ballistics experts say he was traveling at over 60 mph when he crashed into his chest and face, causing devastating injuries.

Redouane died in hospital on Wednesday two years ago.

A subsequent French report cleared the police of any wrongdoing, concluding that the incident was an accident.

However, an investigation by the NGO Disclose, based on reconstructions made by Forensic architecture, a University of London-based research group, contradicts the official report and suggests that the officer who fired the cartridge had targeted residential homes.

The victim’s daughter has now filed a complaint against Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior at the time of her mother’s death.

In December 2018, protesters in yellow vests demonstrating in downtown Marseille were confronted with clouds of tear gas used by the riot police of the Republican Security Companies (CRS).

Redouane, of Algerian descent, was at her apartment bedroom window at 7 p.m. talking to her daughter Milfet on the phone, when she was hit by an MP7 tear gas canister fired by a launcher Cougar, whose instructions for use state: strictly prohibited so that people are not affected.

The can, with a range of 100 meters and designed to clear an area of ​​1,000 square meters, exploded inside the small apartment, releasing a huge amount of gas.

Redouane was taken to hospital but died on the operating table. A post-mortem examination reported that she had “fractures of the entire right hemifacial bone”. Based on photos of the victim and a provisional autopsy report, experts concluded that the tear gas grenade first hit the victim’s chest, before hitting his chin.

The official investigation revealed that five CRS officers received Cougar launchers and MP7 tear gas canisters on the day of the protest. The CRS commander in charge of the police force that day refused to name the officers and none admitted firing at the Redouane building.

French ballistics experts reported that the tear gas canister, fired from a distance of 37 meters, was traveling at around 97.2 km / h when it struck Redouane and concluded that the officer who fired it had complied the rules.

Their 73-page report, released in May, concludes that “the weapon was used in accordance with the instructions and procedures for use currently employed by the national police.” He added: “There is no argument to suggest that Madame Redouane could have been seen by the policeman when he fired”, and concluded that the grenade had “hit the victim completely accidentally during his projection upwards ”.

Forensic Architecture reviewed CCTV, videos of the event posted on social media as well as the official French report to create a 3D reconstruction of the incident.

He concluded from the position of the policeman who fired the tear gas, the angle of fire and the trajectory that “there was a strong possibility that the grenade would enter an apartment and give off a large amount of gas. “. He said he was working within a 2 meter margin of error, but there were only flats in the direction the officer fired.

“There was a strong possibility that the grenade would enter an apartment and release a large amount of gas,” the Forensic Architecture report concluded, adding, “It was clear that there was a danger at the time of firing. The response of the shooter and his supervisor is clearly in question.

Yassine Bouzrou, the lawyer for the Redouane family, disputed the official version.

“The shot which struck Madame Redouane was rising; it was therefore a shot fired at a building full of houses. How can this be in accordance with the rules? Bouzrou told the Parisian.

Bouzrou said the lawsuit against Castaner, which supported the official findings, alleges “tampering and evasion of evidence.” He accused the minister of making statements which “prevented the establishment of the truth”.

The Interior Ministry told Le Monde that Castaner had simply relayed the information received from the Marseille prosecutor’s office.

A police spokesperson said the official report concluding that the fatal incident was accidental was made by “scientific, medical, ballistic and technical experts” who had examined “the angle of fire, the position of the shooter. , the distance and the impact of the tear gas canister. The drafting of the report was supervised by an examining magistrate.

“But of course it’s impossible for that [the report] to say whether it was deliberate or not, ”he added.


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