Since the wave of protests triggered by the brutal killing of George Floyd reached France, protesters have been chanting another name too: Adama Traore.
“They died in exactly the same way,” said his sister Assa Traore. “Adama carried the weight of three officers on his body.”
Adama Traore was celebrating his 24th birthday on July 19, 2016, when three police officers restrained him using the weight of their bodies. By the time he was delivered to a police station, he was unconscious and could not be revived.
Like Floyd, Traore was black, and his death triggered huge protests in France, where the police’s record of brutality and racism remains unaddressed.
For four years, his family have demanded that French police be held to account for the death of her brother in police custody. No one has been prosecuted.
Medical experts are unable to agree on whether the way he was restrained killed him, or an underlying medical condition. Attention to the death had faded.
Now, anger over the killing of George Floyd in the United States is giving their campaign new impetus.
In the video below: George Floyd’s death | Issues of police brutality, racism under spotlight
“It’s a strong, powerful echo,” Assa Traore told Reuters in an interview in Beaumont-sur-Oise, the neighbourhood near Paris where her brother lived.
The Traore family and their supporters are this week calling for a nationwide day of protests in France.
“All the light shed on the George Floyd case has served as a reminder of the numerous other victims who died in the same conditions as George Floyd,” said Almamy Kanoute, a French actor involved in the Traore campaign.
“We’re not saying the police in France are the same as in the United States. But the deadly techniques used in the United States are the same ones as in some European countries, the same ones that kill the same type of people.”