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The video, which lasts only twenty-six seconds, is a crucial piece in the investigation into the death of Mohamed Bendriss, who died in Marseille on the night of July 1 to 2, 2023 after meeting Raid police officers. Release And Mediapart exclusively reveal this document, filmed by a witness, without which the investigations would perhaps never have led to prosecutions. It shows the bewildering interaction between the civil servants and the young father; between a column of vehicles from which men in black, armed and helmeted, get out, and a scooter driver who avoids them to escape. Put into perspective with other previously unpublished images – video surveillance of the city, camera on board the armored police vehicle – this sequence reveals that the victim was the target of several shots from LBD and beanbags (bags of lead balls ), even though she presented no danger to the officers.
That evening, Marseille was shaken by a new night of riots after the death of Nahel Merzouk, killed by a police officer in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine) on June 27. For the third night in a row, the Raid, an intervention unit normally responsible for the fight against armed criminals, is deployed. At the same time, Mohamed Bendriss, a 27-year-old Algerian who has lived in Marseille for several years, travels on a scooter, mainly in the center. Shortly after 1 a.m., the young man collapsed at the bottom of Cours Lieutaud, in front of his mother’s apartment. His death was then noted at the Timone hospital where the firefighters transported him. On his body, two “cockade”-shaped marks, characteristic of LBD shots, were discovered by doctors. This is the starting point of the investigation by the General Inspectorate of the National Police. Thanks to video surveillance, the IGPN traces the journey of Mohamed Bendriss’ scooter. These images reveal that the young man crossed paths with the Raid column a few minutes before its fall, a stone’s throw from the Bouches-du-Rhône prefecture. But the city’s cameras did not capture the crucial moment. Investigators go door to door in the area around this meeting place. After several unsuccessful attempts, they recovered this famous video from a witness, filmed from one of the windows overlooking the rue de Rome where the shootings took place. It fills in the gaps left by the images of the Raid’s armored vehicle and the city’s video surveillance.
At least five detonations in the resident’s video
At 12:57 a.m. on July 2, Mohamed Bendriss entered this commercial axis in the center of Marseille. He pursues Nabil B., who has just stolen two pairs of shoes from a store on a nearby street. His loot, in a black bag, fell in the middle of the roadway on Rue de Rome. Nabil B. goes off on a tangent and will be arrested by the Raid and then sentenced to prison for the theft. While Mohamed Bendriss, still on a scooter, finds himself facing the column of police. This is made up of seven vehicles, led by the armored vehicle, topped with a turret. On board: a police officer with a six-shot rifle, equipped with LBD ammunition.
“When I saw that the police were shooting, I took my phone to film, says the witness, author of the video, in a judicial hearing. At the start it’s the man in the van [blindé] who was on the roof shooting and his colleagues started doing the same.” In this document, we hear at least five detonations, even if we cannot precisely distinguish the trajectories of the shots. The Raid’s onboard camera barely shows that, after the first audible detonation in the witness’s video, a defensive bullet rolls to the ground, near the scooter. Could this shot be the one that caused the “cockade” mark on the victim’s thorax, and could, according to the forensic doctors, have caused a ““commotio cordis” may be responsible for a heart rhythm disturbance and cardio-circulatory arrest” ? This is one of the questions that the ongoing judicial investigation must answer.
Today, three Raid police officers are indicted for intentional violence leading to death without intention. Alexandre P. and Jérémy P., who both believe that their shots were proportionate and justified in stopping the scooter. They respectively occupied the turret of the armored vehicle, and a place at the rear of the van in second position in the convoy. And Sylvain S., present in the third car who does not recognize his shot.
In her hearing, the author of the decisive video also makes a curious oath: “In accordance with your instructions, I undertake not to distribute this film to anyone or show it.” The IGPN investigators therefore urged this witness not to publicize the Raid’s involvement in the affair. They go even further, and put pressure flirting with lies, since this local resident also declares in her hearing: “I note that in the event of dissemination, I could be prosecuted by the courts. I understand what you are telling me, I undertake to respect the law.” However, this does not prohibit the filming of police officers in the exercise of their duties, nor the broadcasting of such images. Even if these constitute the crucial piece of an investigation.