The family lawyer for Adama Traoré, a Black Frenchman who died while being apprehended by Paris police in 2016, says a new medical report supports the possibility that Traoré’s death was linked to police treatment during the arrest.
The report, which was commissioned by judges examining the case, concluded that the 24-year-old’s death was due to heat stroke that could have been aggravated by the gendarmes’ maneuvers, Traoré family lawyer Yassine Bouzrou said.
The report has not been made public and CNN has not seen the full report.
According to Bouzrou, the report found that Traoré’s immobilization and handcuffing likely contributed to his asphyxiation.
The new medical report was commissioned in July 2020, the latest in a succession of conflicting reports on the cause of Traoré’s death.
A 2018 medical assessment requested by Traoré’s family found that he likely died of positional asphyxia induced by the gendarmes’ restraint method.
In contrast, a later judge-mandated medical report instead attributed his death to pre-existing health conditions, which his family says Traoré didn’t have.
The three police officers who detained Traoré maintain their innocence, and have not been formally investigated.
In a press release, the officers’ lawyers confirmed that the new report identified Traoré’s principal cause of death as heat stroke and that it found that their clients’ “momentary constraining maneuvers” could have contributed to the “multifactorial situation” preceding his death.
However, the release also says that the report ruled out positional asphyxia.
The officers’ lawyers have also asserted that Traoré was resisting arrest, a claim his family disputes.
Traoré died on his 24th birthday in the suburbs of Paris. Last June, thousands of people took to the streets of the French capital to demand justice for him, drawing parallels to the death of George Floyd, the Black American who died died as a police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest in Minneapolis.
Traoré’s sister, Assa Traoré, has said that she believes race played a part in his arrest — a claim the officers’ lawyers have previously denied.
“My brother died because he was Black. My brother died because he was from a disadvantaged area,” she told CNN last summer. “Would the body of a White man have received the weight of three policemen?”