Friday, December 3

“The least of things, when the police kill someone, is to have a real investigation and a trial”: Awa Gueye’s fight for her brother Babacar


By Aurélie Collas

Posted yesterday at 6:05 p.m., updated yesterday at 7:18 p.m.

It’s like a film being shown on repeat in his head. He haunts her nights, prevents her from falling asleep. During the day, it causes horrible migraines and stomach aches. For five years, Awa Gueye has been mulling over the death of her brother Babacar, a 27-year-old Senegalese who was killed five times by a police officer on the night of December 2 to 3, 2015 in Rennes. Five years old, and Awa still has only questions.

Regularly, she tries to reconstruct the facts using a small model, made of wooden boards and skewers, representing the stairwell where the tragedy occurred. Awa has drawn everything that a crime scene can contain: bullet holes, casings, traces of blood… She studies the trajectory of the shots, the shooting distances, the position of the police officer and that of Babacar. . Then she thinks of her little brother. That night he was not in his normal state; he was mutilating himself with a knife. Why did the police intervene before the rescue? Why did they kill him? Why did they not know how to help him?

Awa Gueye at her home, in the Villejean district, in Rennes, October 12, 2020.
Awa Gueye had a model made of the place where Babacar died, on which she transferred the clues found during the investigation, such as the bullet impact points and the location of the cartridge cases.

On September 24, she obtained a life-size reconstruction of the facts, as part of the judicial investigation for “manslaughter by person holding public authority”, opened in 2017. Wearing a sweatshirt on which is inscribed “Justice for Babacar, murdered by the police”, Awa went there accompanied by about fifty people who came to support her. In the process, the public prosecutor of Rennes, Philippe Astruc, let it be known that “The investigation, except new requests from the parties, should be able to be closed in the coming weeks”. As of November 12, this was not yet the case.

For the policeman’s lawyer, Frédéric Birrien, “There is no doubt that [son] client acted in self-defense to protect himself and his colleagues ”. An analysis shared by the prosecution but refuted by the two lawyers of Awa, Muriel Ruef and Lucie Simon. “When eight police officers trained to control an individual, equipped with tasers and revolvers, face a man clearly in the middle of a delusional puff, dangerous above all for himself, self-defense must be questioned”, estimates Me Ruef. As for Awa, she promised to fight to the end: “The least of things, when the police kill someone, is to have a real investigation and a trial. “

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