PARIS: Two French police officers were released from custody on Thursday as an investigation continues into a collision in a Paris suburb that left a 16-year old boy of Turkish descent brain dead.
A lawyer representing the boy’s family accused police of ramming a patrol car into his motocross bike during a high-speed chase on Wednesday. The family has filed a lawsuit accusing the officers of attempted murder.
Prosecutors said that they were treating the incident as “unintentional” and were looking for videos to ascertain the facts. Police told prosecutors that the teenager had failed to stop as instructed while riding along the pavement and, as he fled, had collided with a police vehicle at a crossroads.
Prosecutors said earlier in the day that the teenager had died and that they had opened a manslaughter investigation.
The crash happened just over two months after police shot and killed a 17-year-old of North African descent at a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.
That incident sparked five days of riots and looting across the country, tapping a deep vein of resentment among France’s surburban poor, particularly communities of immigrant descent who have long accused police of violence and racial profiling.
A police union source said a squad from the elite CRS8 anti-riot unit was being deployed to Elancourt, the town in the Yvelines department west of the capital where Wednesday’s crash occurred.
Government spokesman Olivier Veran said investigations would determine the “exact circumstances” of the crash.
“Obviously I am calling for calm ... I am calling for restraint and careful consideration,” he said on France Inter radio.
There was no unrest or violent incidents on Thursday night in Elancourt, a national police spokesman said.
The incident occurred as France gears up to host the Rugby World Cup. The tournament, one of the major events on this year’s international sporting calendar, kicks off on Friday when France play New Zealand at the Stade de France near Paris. - Reuters