One year on from the death of French delivery driver Cédric Chouviat following a routine police check, several hundred people gathered in Paris on Sunday to pay tribute to the victim and to support his family.
It was on January 3, 2020, that the 42-year old was stopped by police near the Eiffel Tower for allegedly using his phone while riding a scooter.
There followed a tense confrontation with officers after which Chouviat was pinned to the ground with his motorcycle helmet still on his head.
One of the arresting officers reportedly used a chokehold to subdue him.
Later an autopsy revealed he died from asphyxia with “a fracture of the larynx”.
Officers defended their actions by claiming they didn’t hear Couviat saying “I’m suffocating”
Three of the four officers who took part in the police check were indicted for manslaughter, however, none was suspended.
Family call for justice
The victim’s father, Christian Chouviat, attended Sunday’s rally.
“We are just here to show that the Chouviat family still exists and will always exist until justice is done,” he told reporters, “and especially until Mr. Darmanin (the interior minister) decides to make the four suspensions. That’s what we expect from Mr. Macron’s government, from Mr. Darmanin.”
“It is not us against the police, it is not us against the state,” added the victim’s daughter Sofia Chouviat, “it is us against the people who justify these impunities, who justify these acts, these atrocities and these crimes.”
Chouviat’s family have called on chokehold techniques to be banned but at present, they’re still permitted.
Sunday’s march was also to protest against proposed legislation to make it illegal to publish images of police officers “that violate their physical or psychological integrity”.
Protesters point out that in Cédric Chouviat’s case, such videos were useful to the investigation.