An investigation into the deaths of two boys in Clichy Sous Bois which led to the riots in Paris suburbs late last year has proved that police officers, despite denials from the oficers on the ground all the way up to the interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, were chasing Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna on the night that they were killed.
The investigation has uncovered evidence that Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna, along with their friend Muhittin Altun who was seriously injured on the same night were being chased by police officers. (Altun was also arrested the night before he was due to testify before an enquiry.)
The initial investigation has proved, in part by using recordings of police radio transmissions, that the boys were initially followed onto the site by a plain-clothes officer. After getting away from him they were then pursued by other officers. The official police account has been proved to be false.
The police officers failed to contact EDF (the power supplier) once they knew the boys were inside. This negligence led to their deaths, the judge concluded that had they notified EDF as son as he boys entered the building then EDF workers could have intervened 15 minutes before the accident. As a result the investigating judge has called for charges of 'failure to assist a person in danger' for the officers.
The boys' families have called for more serious charges to be brought as the police offices actively pursued the boys, rather than simply failing to assist them. There is also a question of whether it can be proved that the police officers conspired to hide the real course of events.
Taoufik and two friends were out for a drink. According to Taoufik's friends he was arrested and they haven't seen him since, the police consistently denied that he had been arrested at all. The police have now released their version of events.
According to them Taoufik was originally stopped in relation to a bag snatch. The culprit had his arm in a sling and the police, seeing a jumper draped over Taoufik's arm suspected him. According to police the atmosphere was dangerous and they took him down the road in their car so that they could check his papers in safety. After eliminating him from their enquiries they released him.
However as this admittance came over two weeks after Taoufik's disappearance and only after the involvement of the CDI (in charge of internal investigations). The police also dispute the, entirely consistent, tesitmonies of his two friends. According to them Taoufik was taken away between 22:30 and 23:00, whereas the police claim that it was at 12:15. If the incident took place at 12:15 this supports the police account of a short stop and search. However the testimony of his friends suggests that there was time for foul play to take place.
According to the police authorities the incident was not reported because Taoufik was not arrested. However this may be that police are simply less willing to report incidents after their radio conversations proved that they had been chasing Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna.