published: 5 May 2020
As police brutality in France intensifies under coronavirus restrictions, we talk to the leader of “Justice for Adama” about her campaign to protect Black communities and get justice for her brother’s death.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis has been used as an excuse by the French state to take a more authoritarian approach to controlling poorer areas. Across all of France right now, the population is not allowed to go outside unless they can show a permission slip.
French police conduct even more identity checks, targeting poor areas with people of color leave, leading to more tension. In March, a Black woman who went out to do grocery shopping was beaten up by the police who accused her of not buying necessary items. There were protests in a few cities outside of Paris after a motorcyclist was injured following an altercation with the police. But violence toward Black communities in France is not new.
On the day of his 24th birthday, July 19th 2016, Assa Traoré’s brother Adama was asphyxiated to death in a gendarme station outside Paris. That’s the official account, but Assa and her supporters say the evidence shows that the gendarmes – members of the French national police force – had crushed him during the chase and before entering the police station.