Marseille - Three French police were charged on Thursday over a 27-year-old man’s death during nationwide rioting earlier this summer, prosecutors said, an uncommon instance of officers facing a criminal case over on-duty violence. An autopsy of the man who died in Marseille during the riots showed marks on his chest consistent with the impact of a shot from a blast ball commonly used by police, prosecutors said.
The officers were arrested on Tuesday over the incident. It was the only known death at, or on the margins of, the unrest that gripped France in late June and early July over the killing of a teenager by a policeman during a traffic check outside Paris on June 27.
The riots were met by a forceful police response. The man, Mohamed Bendriss -- a married father of one whose widow is expecting a second child -- died after feeling unwell while riding a scooter. Prosecutors have said they considers it “probable” that the man’s death was “caused by a violent impact to the thorax caused by the firing of a projectile of the blast ball type”. The three will be charged with “armed violence unintentionally causing death”.