La Haine: seeking justice for the deaths of Zyed and Bouna

One month after the spine of Freddie Gray was severed in the back of a Baltimore police van, a court case opened in Rennes, Brittany; three hours from Paris, and far from Clichy-sous-Bois, the destitute cité where two teenagers were electrocuted after running from the police in 2005. 

After ten years of legal action and contradictory judgments, two police officers face charges of not 'providing assistance to persons in danger'  - that is not helping the two adolescents after they ran into the EDF powerstation - a crime that carries a penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to 75,000 euros.   

The deaths of 15 year-old Bouna Traore and 17 year-old Zyed Benna led to 21 days of riots across France, the worst civil disturbances in the country's history (since New Caledonia in 1984). More than 9,000 vehicles were torched and countless buildings destroyed, as the government declared a state of emergency.

The court decision on the 18th May returned a judgment that cleared the two police officers of the charges. Still working on my article on the case and police in Paris ... delayed by an Internet brainsnap.

Have a look at this clever campaign by Stop le contrôle au faciès where famous French emcees describe the first time they were stopped by the police for no apparent reason other than their race. Here's a 'teaser', with English subtitles.