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Campaigners have called for a mass protest to take place in central Paris on Saturday, to demand justice for the death of 24-year-old Adama Traore in July 2016. The black man died in policy custody, after three police officers used their weight to restrain him. By the time he arrived at the police station, he was unconscious and could not be revived.
Four autopsy reports have been issued, with medical experts disagreeing on whether Mr Traore died as a result of the restraint.
Experts differ on whether the death was caused by suffocation after the police pinned him to the ground, or underlying medical conditions.
The official medical report listed heart failure as cause of death.
But a second autopsy, commissioned independently of law enforcement, listed asphyxiation from sustained pressure as the cause of death.
His family have long campaigned for justice and called for the officers to be held to account – yet no one has been charged.
Mr Traore’s family have rejected an invitation to talks with the justice minister, and instead called for nationwide protests to take place.
The campaign group ‘Truth for Adama’ said offer of talks with the minister were received through its lawyer.
The group said in a statement: “The Traore family reiterates that it wants legal progress, and not an invitation to talks which won’t lead to any procedural purpose.”
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They called for a mass protest in central Paris on Saturday.
Worldwide anger over the killing of George Floyd, a black American, has given new momentum to the Trarore family’s campaign.
Mr Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Shocking footage of the arrest showed Mr Floyd laid on the ground with a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck.
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In the video, the 46-year-old is heard pleading for his mother and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”.
The attorney for George Floyd’s family, Benjamin Crump, said an independent autopsy “determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause” of Mr Floyd’s death.
His death prompted protests to erupt in the US, as well as worldwide.
Last Saturday thousands of people marched in Paris in solidarity of the US protestors – and also to mark Mr Traore’s death.
Accusations of brutality and racism against French police remain largely unaddressed, human rights groups say.
Yesterday President Emmanuel Macron’s government said it was banning a chokehold used to detain suspects and promised zero tolerance for racism among police.
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