A 35-year-old man drowned in the Seine overnight from Sunday to Monday, in Bougival (Yvelines), following a chase with the police. The case, which initially received little media coverage, took on a new dimension after the identity of the victim, Mahamadou Fofana, cousin of Adama Traoré, who died in July 2016, during his arrest was revealed. by gendarmes.
The police claim to have intervened following the observation of a motorcycle theft, and to have tried to save the man from drowning, after he had voluntarily thrown himself into the water to flee. While an autopsy was being conducted on Tuesday, as part of an investigation for “search for causes of death»Entrusted to the IGPN, the version of the police remains contested by Kangne Fofana, sister of the victim who, supported by Assa Traoré, figure of the anti-racist movement and the fight against police violence, launched an appeal for witness in order to know the truth.
Yesterday evening, Mamadou, cousin of Assa Traoré, lost his life during a police intervention. According to the police, he threw himself into the Seine to escape them and drowned. Her sister, Kangne, doesn’t believe in the police version. CALL FOR WITNESSES: https://t.co/FNBFK65X2O pic.twitter.com/u2JA1AYwW9
– Over there if I’m there (@LabasOfficiel) September 14, 2020
In the version of the policy, to which Release had access, the staff of the night brigade and the Saint-Germain-en-Laye ferry were called at 11:05 p.m. for a motorcycle theft that took place at the square des Montferrands, in Marly-le-Roy. They are told that several people are loading a motorbike into a white van.
“Five or six meters from the shore, it dives regularly under water”
On the spot, Release was able to find a neighbor who made the call to 17. She says: “I heard some noise so I went out to my balcony and saw five men, two on foot and three in the truck. They were busy around a motorcycle. The two men on foot fled to the top of the residence, the three in trucks left in the direction of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.»
The BAC, the Anti-Crime Brigade, then chased the van, which headed for the Pecq bridge. Still according to the police version, this vehicle was abandoned lower down, at the level of the rue de Paris, where a man fled on foot. “Officials lose sight of him after he crosses the Port Marly footbridge»Specifies a police source to Release. “At 11:12 pm, they meet at the level of the buildings of Emmaus, on the island of the Lodge and get out of their vehicle. There, they hear noises below, towards the bank, and note that the man has thrown himself into the Seine.»
According to the statements of the police officers present, the man tries to swim to the opposite bank. But, in the middle of the course, he shows signs of panic and decides to turn around. “Five or six meters from the edge, it dives regularly under water and is in difficulty, the firefighters are called»Continues our source. “A first policeman jumps to retrieve him, but he finds himself in difficulty because of his rangers and his bulletproof vest. Then a second policeman joined him. They manage to bring the man back to the bank.»
The latter, according to the police, is then unconscious. Cardiac massage is performed until 11:31 p.m., when the fire brigade arrives. They will not be able to save him. The death is pronounced at 00:09.
“I don’t really believe in this thesis”
Two days after learning of the death of one of their own, the family deeply doubts the police officers’ version. In front of the media camera Over there if I’m there, Monday September 14, Kangne Fofana, sister of Mahamadou Fofana, refuses to believe that he could have been involved in a motorcycle theft, then voluntarily jump into the water. She mentions a death in “very unclear circumstances“And adds:”It was the IGPN who came to my parents to announce his death. Like what he was chased by the police and tried to flee and threw himself into the Seine, according to them. But I do not believe too much in this thesis, my brother is 35 years old, two children, he is a father, he is responsible. I do not believe in this thesis according to which my brother throws himself in the water. We want to restore the truth. Especially since we have just seen in The Parisian that supposedly he’s an alleged thief, I don’t believe in all that. “
According to the prosecution, contacted by francetvinfo, the survey does not yet allow us to confirm “If he threw himself into the water or accidentally fell into it while fleeing, the elements of the investigation are in progress to determine as precisely as possible the course of the facts”.
The family’s lawyer, Yassine Bouzrou, also told AFP that he had in his possession “Testimonies which indicate that [Mahamadou Fofana] did not jump into the water“. Solicited multiple times this Tuesday by Release, he did not follow up. But according to our information, at least some of these witnesses would have stood near the port-Marly footbridge, which Mahamadou Fofana would have taken in his flight. They claim to have heard no sound of falling. In fact, according to the police, the victim did not jump into the water there, but in the other arm of the river, on the other side of the island of the Lodge. According to our findings, there are no CCTV cameras at this location.
Asked by Libé on the place designated by the police as being the place of drowning, residents and fishermen speak of an area “Where there is current, algae”, «and no lighting at night». This arm of the river is about a hundred meters wide.
Tuesday evening, the parquet floor of Versailles had not yet communicated on the results of the autopsy. Finally, in addition to the IGPN investigation, another separate investigation, this time concerning the theft of motorcycles, was entrusted, according to the Parisian, to the urban security of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.