Three French officers have been detained after being accused of hitting a scooter with their police car and injuring three children during a chase in Paris.
The officers - two men and one woman - are in custody at the police investigation authority, l’Inspection générale de la Police nationale (IGPN), the Paris prosecutor has confirmed.
The IGPN has launched an inquiry. Another probe has been launched into the driver’s alleged refusal to comply with police instructions.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told FranceInfo the officers had committed “actions that were not appropriate” and been suspended from duties pending the investigation. Paris police prefect Laurent Nuñez signed and approved this suspension, the AFP news agency reported.
The injured children
The injured children were a 17-year-old girl, who was driving the scooter, her 13-year-old brother and another boy aged 14. The girl was hospitalised following the incident, her brother injured in the kidneys and the other boy was hurt on the knee.
The girl is still in the hospital.
The lawyer for both families, Arié Alimi, has made a formal complaint over “attempted murder by a person holding public authority, with a weapon by destination, on minors".
He told FranceInfo: “When you take chase and you prepare to run over a vehicle with three minors on it, it can effectively be considered an assassination attempt…what’s going through a police officer’s head when they’re driving their vehicle committing this act? Where is the training?”
Mr Alimi said the trio had been returning home from the mosque during Ramadan and had been trying to get home quickly. He admitted that one of the trio had not been wearing a helmet and “shouldn’t have been riding like that, of course”, but that these are “small offences”.
He added witnesses to the police action had been “threatened with arrest [and] intimidated”. He said he would be looking to lodge a complaint of “measures of intimidation”, “threatening a witness” and “intimidation aiming to hinder the investigation”.
The lawyer also criticised Mr Darmanin for his “late intervention” and said that “procedural errors” had taken place since the start.
He claimed: “In addition to the serious events that took place, there was a desire for a cover-up, intimidation to prevent the investigation from taking place and the truth from coming out."
He said: “This must stop. The next time, there will be deaths. These are children. We can’t kill children.”