The Paris Assize Court is on appeal, from Tuesday March 2, thirteen young men accused of having injured, on October 8, 2016, four police officers, by setting their cars on fire with the jet of Molotov cocktails, in a sensitive area from Viry-Châtillon, in Essonne.
The new trial of this case – which had a very strong media and political impact – is to last six weeks. He is standing in front of the juvenile assize court since three of the defendants were under 18 at the time of the crime. At the opening, the court will determine whether the proceedings are held in camera, as in first instance.
Sentences of ten to twenty years’ imprisonment
At the end of the first trial, in December 2019, eight defendants had been sentenced to terms of ten to twenty years imprisonment by the Assize Court for minors of Essonne and five had been released. The Paris general prosecutor’s office appealed against the verdict.
On October 8, 2016, in broad daylight in Viry-Châtillon, about twenty young people stormed two police cars parked near the Grande Borne district – a vast social housing city with thousands of housing units – considered to be one of the most sensitive in Ile-de-France. In a few seconds, they smash the windows and throw Molotov cocktails into the cockpit. In a first car, the two front seats ignite. A 28-year-old security assistant and a 39-year-old female peacekeeper catch fire.
The accused of this violent attack were between 16 and 21 years old at the time of the facts. During the first trial, the prosecution requested a conviction for the thirteen and called for sentences ranging from twenty to thirty years of criminal imprisonment. Eight had been found guilty of attempted murder of persons holding public authority. The lawyers for the civil parties described the verdict as“Incomprehensible” and “Disturbing”.
Emotion of the political class
On the defense side, Me Arnaud Simonard – whose client had been acquitted – estimates that more than four years after the facts “There will be a different approach” from that of the first trial. “The fact that it will be judged in Paris and no longer in Essonne, with a longer deadline, will allow debates less anesthetized by emotion and more serene and technical”, believes this lawyer, promising a “More combative defense”.
The state of health of one of the four police officers was worried for a time and he had been plunged into a coma for several weeks. Her colleague had been hit by stones when she got out of the torch-turned car, while her upper body was on fire.
“I have children, help me! “, had heard him say one of his alleged attackers, who had later confided to a friend that it had made him “A pinch in the heart”.
The two officers managed to extricate themselves from the other car when a Molotov cocktail fell in the back seat. They had been injured more lightly.
The entire political class was moved, the then president, François Hollande, denouncing an aggression “Unspeakable and intolerable” and claiming “A penalty commensurate with the gravity” of the act.
According to the survey, the young people – friends who are members of a band from the Grande Borne – had planned for a few days to “To fuck the cops”.
The defendants denied, some barely acknowledging their presence, throwing stones, but never Molotov cocktails.
The verdict is expected on April 16.