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Mahamadou Fofana, first cousin of Adama Traoré, died on the night of Sunday 13 to Monday 14 September, pursued by the police. The police claim that the 35-year-old man threw himself in the Seine but the family disputes this version of the facts. A judicial investigation was opened and the IGPN, the police force, was seized.
It is a new legal showdown that begins between the police and the Traoré clan. The Versailles public prosecutor’s office announced on Friday September 18 the opening of a judicial investigation for “the search for the causes of death” after the controversial drowning in the Seine of Mahamadou Fofana, cousin ofAdama traore, this young man of 24 who has become a symbol in France of the fight against police violence, after his death in July 2016 following a strong arrest by the gendarmes.
In the Mahamadou Fofana case, it all started with a phone call from a local resident to the police, Sunday, September 13, to report a theft of two-wheelers in Marly-le-Roi, in the Yvelines. Police officers from the Bac, the anti-crime brigade, go there and spot five men loading a motorcycle into a van. At around 11 p.m., they chased the utility and caught up with it. The driver then stops the vehicle, flees and then throws himself into the Seine, according to the version given by the police. Still according to the police, the man would have then tried to turn around to regain the bank but drowned a few meters from the edge despite the intervention of an agent to help him.
However, the version of the police is questioned by the entourage of Mahamadou Fofana, who calls for witnesses because the place of the tragedy does not have any surveillance camera that would clarify the circumstances of this chase and of its fatal outcome.
The autopsy gives rise to contradictory versions
As with the death of his cousin in 2016, many gray areas remain to be clarified in this case. At the heart of the controversy, the autopsy of the body. According to a first preliminary report quoted by the prosecutor of Versailles, Maryvonne Caillibotte, Wednesday September 16, “all the signs conclude with a drowning” of Mahamadou Fofana.
An affirmation that makes Yassine Bouzrou jump. Reached by France 24 on the phone, the family lawyer strongly contests this version and evokes “serious and recent injuries to the shoulder and head which may correspond to a shock against a hard shot”.
The existence of these lesions and of a depression in the skull was confirmed by multiple media who were able to access the autopsy report.
The prosecutor of Versailles for her part mentioned Wednesday “skin abrasions on the skull which are recent and some on the right shoulder”, specifying that, according to the lawyer, they “did not play a role in the mechanism of deceased”.
Me Bouzrou, who filed a complaint for intentional homicide, accuses the Versailles prosecutor of “concealment”. According to him, the prosecution failed to indicate the presence of these lesions and prevented the family from seeing the body. In addition, the lawyer is indignant that the magistrate hastened to “criminalize the victim” by recalling in the press the criminal record of Mahamadou Fofana, who had been the subject of an arrest warrant since 2017 and of a sentence of 18 months in prison for drug trafficking.
Asked about possible similarities with the Adama Traoré affair, Mr.e Bouzrou affirms “to see points in common with many cases of alleged police violence”.
The “Truth for Adama” committee mobilizes
On social networks, the committee “The truth for Adama” gives voice to contest the police version. In a video posted on her Facebook account, Mahamadou Fofana’s sister evokes “circumstances [de son décès] very vague “and says” not to believe at all “in the statements of the police force and to want” to establish the truth “.
By his side, Assa Traore, Adama’s sister, figurehead of this committee whose call to demonstrate against the violence of the police, on June 2, had brought together tens of thousands of people in front of the Paris court, assures that her cousin was hit. “He has lesions. One has the impression that he was beaten with a baton,” protests the activist in this video shot in front of the Garches forensic institute in Hauts-de-Seine.
A photograph of Mahamadou Fofana was also posted on Friday with the following caption: “He was engaged in the Fight for Truth and Justice for Adama. He was committed against police violence. Unfortunately, he too died in a chase. with the police. Sad fate. Truth and Justice for Mahamadou! “
It is now up to an examining magistrate to answer the many questions from relatives of Adama Traoré’s cousin. This investigation could take several months.