The Adama Traore Case: Ten years after the Zyed and Bouna Case


Very few people outside the Hexagon really do realise how unequal the so called country of “Liberty, equality, and fraternity” is.

July 19th 2016, unfortunately for him and for his beloved ones, Adama Traore, a 24 years old black man of West African cultural background will sadly come to the conclusion that little -not to say, nothing- has changed since the death of Zyed and Bouna, in 2005.

On Tuesday 19th of July 2016, in the city of Beaumont-sur-Oise, in the Paris region, some police officers are looking for a man involved in a robbery and extortion affair. The suspect who happens to be Adama’s brother is not to be seen in the neighbourhood. The police officers, however, meet with Adama who refuses to comply to the police’s stop and search procedure. He flees the scene and will soon be caught up before fleeing again. It is at his parents’ apartment that Adama is finally found. He accepts to surrender and is flattened on the floor by three police officers who use their body weight against him on the floor. Adama is handcuffed and taken into police custody; and this is the last time he will ever be seen alive. A police officer in a clean tee-shirt is seen later with the same tee-shirt on, but this time stained with blood. Strangely enough, the latter is not bleeding. Many things are not clear.

When Adama’s mother first comes to the police station, she is told that her son is in custody. She is not allowed to see him. A couple of hours later, she is informed that her son has succumbed to a heart attack. She still has got no clue of where the body of her son is. She is told that he is not at the police station, neither is the corpse of Adama Traore to be found in any of the nearest hospitals.

It will take nearly twenty-four hours before the police accepts to show the body to the family.[1] The explanation given to the many lesions, bruises, and bumps that can be observed on the victim’s face and body is that they result from a deadly infection. If the first autopsy already shows that the 24-year-old man probably died from asphyxia, the attorney of Pontoise, the police and the French mass media rather evoke some sort of severe heart infection or heart attack. It is the family’s new barrister, Yassine Bouzrou, who will -after properly reading the different declarations and official reports- unveil the irregularities, as well as the concealed truths and facts. They contradict the public declaration of the media, but also that of both the Pontoise attorney and the police. Many things are not clear in the Adama Case, indeed.  The absence of declaration or official report from any emergency rescue team is also another source of concern. Besides, some documents even prove that an attempt was made by the police to file a complaint against Adama Traore for rebellion after he had already passed away.

According to the collective and organisation “Notre Police Assassine” -which fights and denounces police errors-, more than a hundred people lost their lives after confronting the French police between 2005 and 2015. In other words, approximately 10 people die every year unjustly in the hands of the French police. A research carried out in 2009 by the CNRS[2] also revealed that young people of North African and Black African cultural background (Black Caribbean included) were six to eight times more likely to be stopped and searched by the French police.[3]  In no cases, has the French police ever been sentenced for its committed errors.


The United States have, these last few years, been a good example of what a discriminatory system is. The American history, including the Civil Rights movement of the fifties and sixties have helped coin that image the world has of North America as being a country where racial inequalities exist and affect society as a whole. But, the case of France is even worse and untold.

People of Black African and North African Cultural background are too often used as scapegoats either to explain France economic difficulties or simply to hide the inefficiency of the successive French governments.

The numerous debates around French National identity that have been going on for a decade now, and the different laws passed on Secularism are obvious illustrations of a policy put into place in order to maintain the Whiteness and Christian legacy of France’s cultural landscape. Fighting against the cultural expression of Islam and other non-European cultural features is clearly assumed by French politicians and media.

Because of their discriminatory and racist practices, the French government and media have also, on several occasions, in the last five years, been pointed out by European and international organisations fighting against racism and discrimination.[4]

In the Adama Traore Case, every single day has its share of new revelations undermining the version of the authorities. This very case tells us a lot about French institutions.

And, as history teaches us that ethnocides are always accompanied by attempts to get rid of part of the population carrying the non-accepted cultural particularities, I now ask myself about the objective of all these police officers when assassinating young French Arabs and blacks, and disguising their murders.

It is important to remember that number is “power”; and, too many North Africans and Black Africans with obvious cultural particularities is undoubtedly what most lovers of the French republic fear, and would like to get rid of, at any price. In other words: “Is the assassination of Adama Traore by the police part of a larger cleansing programme, for the French republic at the stake of Ethnic minorities?” The question has merit to be asked, and Ethnic Minorities in France must be vigilant. Yes, indeed, our lives matter!

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