A French police officer who shot and killed two brothers accused of attempting to avoid a road check in Paris fired as their vehicle was driving away from him, new reports allege.
The officer, who is under investigation after the fatal shooting, has told detectives he was acting to save the lives of colleagues because the car was driving at them.
However, reports in the Libération newspaper and Mediapart based on 3D modelling of an initial ballistic report carried out by a forensic team suggest two of the nine shots fired at the vehicle were fired from behind after it had passed the officers. An autopsy found the driver had been fatally hit in the back of the head.
The claims come as Paris police face condemnation over another shooting and their conduct at the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris at the end of last month.
On 24 April Emmanuel Macron had just been re-elected for a second five-year mandate and had given his victory speech on the Champ de Mars around the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Security in the French capital was high when at about midnight, five uniformed police officers approached a dark grey Volkswagen Polo parked near Pont Neuf with its warning lights flashing. Two brothers, aged 25 and 31, were inside and a 42-year-old man in the back seat.
The car then allegedly drove towards at least one of the police officers, who jumped out of the way. The officers present claimed they were in danger and their 24-year-old colleague who shot at the car was acting in “legitimate defence”. The driver was found dead at the wheel, while the front passenger staggered out of the car and died in the road. Postmortem examinations of the two men suggested they had been killed by bullets fired from the side and the rear of the vehicle.
The police shooter has been put under official investigation for “culpable homicide”. Investigators are looking at reports the vehicle had passed the point where it posed a danger to the police. The officer had been licensed to carry an automatic weapon – a Heckler & Koch G36 – one month previously after two days of training, Mediapart and Libération reported. The assault rifle is issued by a number of police forces including those in Germany, Spain and UK.
The ballistic report carried out on 25 April and the autopsy report carried out the following day have been submitted to an investigating judge.
The car’s occupants were later found to have 1g of cocaine worth €70 (£60.40) that they were allegedly selling to the man in the back of the vehicle, who had been drinking in a nearby bar.
One of the officers said the men had “panicked” when they realised they were about to be searched, but witnesses said the car had not taken off at great speed. One of the police officers told investigators he had heard shots before the car moved and “didn’t know where they came from”. He said he had no recollection of having fired when the vehicle had passed.
No shots were fired from inside the vehicle.
Investigators have been unable to find any CCTV images, despite the shooting happening near a court house and the police prefecture, both of which are equipped with CCTV. The officers said they were not carrying cameras because those at the police station were out of service.
Police unions have protested against the accusations and described the legal charge as “unacceptable”.
“If he hadn’t shot, he could have been killed. He saved his colleagues and this is how he is thanked,” Yvan Assioma, an official for the Alliance police union, said during a police demonstration earlier this month.
In another fatal shooting on 6 June, officers opened fire on a car attempting to avoid a road check, killing a passenger and injuring the driver.
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( Information from theguardian.com was used in this report. To Read More, click here )