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November 25, 2020

 

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French police brutally beat 14-year-old Romani boy during arrest, his family plan to sue

11.6.2020 15:15
Gabriel Djordjevic, the 14-year-old boy who was brutally beaten by police in France who arrested him on 26 May 2020. (Collage:  Romea.cz)
Gabriel Djordjevic, the 14-year-old boy who was brutally beaten by police in France who arrested him on 26 May 2020. (Collage: Romea.cz)

More than two weeks ago, on the streets of the French commune of Bondy, police assaulted a 14-year-old Romani boy, Gabriel Djordjevic. The incident transpired just a few hours after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis during a police intervention.  

Djordjevic suffered a fractured upper jaw, several broken teeth, and damage to his eye that was repaired by an operation. His family has decided to sue the officers involved.

Police are currently investigating the entire incident. In the late night hours of 25 May and the early morning hours of 26 May, Djordjevic and a friend were attempting to steal a scooter.

Once police officers noticed what they were up to, they began to chase them. "There were four of them. One handcuffed me and kneeled on my shoulder. A policewoman held down my feet and then a bearded officer kicked me in the face," Djordjevic said in an interview with the Loopsider news server in France, adding that while he is aware that what he had been doing was stupid, what the officers did to him was horrible. 

The officers then transported Djordjevic to the police station in Bondy, where they called his mother and told her he had been arrested for stealing a scooter. According to the telegraf news server in Serbia, she then called the police service to ask whether her son had suffered any injuries and whether he was ok.

According to the mother, the police assured her, more than once, that her son was fine. Several hours later she received a call from Jean Verdier, an employee at the hospital in Bondy.

The medical report from the facility where Djordjevic was transported indicates he suffered facial and skull injuries. He suffered a fracture to his upper jaw, several broken teeth, and had to undergo an operation to save his eye after the brutal attack. 

Djordjevic's family has filed a crime report against the officers who participated in the brutal attack. "I would have preferred they arrest him and send him to prison than that they abuse him like that," his mother told the telegraf news server. 

On Monday, 1 June, about 100 people assembled in Bondy to protest the police intervention against the Romani youth. The boy, according to his family, has not yet recovered from the attack.  

"Whenever he eats he immediately vomits and is very disturbed. We are demanding that these police be punished, and we are demanding that officers be better trained," said Serif Djordjevic, Gabriel's brother. 

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, according to the British daily The Guardian, said he is anticipating the internal affairs detectives will investigate the situation. He also insisted that in the future officers must have their service numbers attached in a visible place and must use their body cameras.   

Štefan Balog, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Crime, France, Police, Roma



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