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France

Man dies in motorbike crash while fleeing police

Video by Nadia CHARBIT

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-08-10

An 18-year-old man died on Sunday after crashing his motorbike into a concrete barrier in a Parisian suburb, investigators said. The man refused a police request to pull over and began to flee, only to lose control of his bike.

The French department of internal police affairs launched an investigation among police staff on Monday, a day after an 18-year-old man died while fleeing a police vehicle on a motorbike in the Parisian suburb of Bagnolet.

According to Le Monde, Yacou Sanago, a pizza deliverer, lost control of his motorbike 30 metres from his place of work on the Boulevard Raspail at around 8 pm. A police car asked him to “pull over to the right for a check”, according to the French daily, quoting a source involved in the investigation.

The young man took flight and lost control of his motorbike.

Brice Hortefeux, the French interior minister, said in a statement that locals had actually called the police because the youth was riding recklessly, “having a rodeo on two roads”.

Hortefeux announced he would hold a meeting with 20 community associations on August 31 on the theme of police-community relations.

Sanago’s death has aggravated feelings of resentment between police and residents of the poorer suburbs outlying the north and east of Paris.

Shortly after the incident, protests and vandalism erupted in the young man’s home town. A bus shelter was destroyed and garbage bins were set on fire. Youths also targeted the area’s police station.

“Close to 29 vehicles were set on fire and rioters shattered windows of shops and a school,” said a statement by the interior ministry.

Calm returned in the early hours on Monday.

Ahead of an autopsy scheduled for Monday, investigators took testimony to determine the circumstances in which Sanago died.

Of central concern is the question as to whether the police car might have hit the young man’s motorbike.

An investigator told AFP: “The police car didn’t touch him. There was no contact between the motorbike and the police car.”

In 2005, the accidental death of two youths from the Paris region who were trying to evade police sparked more than two weeks of rioting that spread across the country.

Date created : 2009-08-10

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