Was an Afghan really killed in Colmar for opposing an urban rodeo? – Liberation

A 27-year-old Afghan was shot dead in Colmar on August 14. Many press headlines have linked the affair to an “urban rodeo”, which the mayor of the city, Eric Straumann, and various articles deny.

Does the press see urban rodeos everywhere? On August 14, Abdul, a 27-year-old Afghan, was shot dead following an altercation in a poor district of Colmar. A large part of the national press and commentators link this affair to a story of “urban rodeo”, an illegal practice which has largely occupied the media space and Politics in August. But several press articles and the mayor of the city qualify, even contradict, this version of the facts.

The mention of an urban rodeo as part of the Colmar drama appears first in the regional newspaper the latest news from Alsace. But it was above all, as often, the Agence France Presse (AFP) which set the tone on August 15, by publishing a dispatch taken up by the majority of the media (including Release or the world) and titled: “A young Afghan killed in Colmar after protesting against an urban rodeo.”

«A 27-year-old Afghan boy died after being shot while protesting against an urban rodeo on Sunday in Colmar, we learned on Monday from concordant sources.“says the news agency from the start of its dispatch. The “concordant sources” are not detailed.

A little further on, the agency cites a “police source” : «A group of Afghans shared a barbecue, before being bothered by the noise of a scooter whose driver was performing a rodeo. There followed an altercation with the driver who ended up leaving the scene before returning, shooting one of the group members and fleeing, according to the account of a police source.»

Note that this version is nuanced by another police source cited by the agency: ““One of the perpetrators, on a scooter, was going back and forth”, reports another police source, without mentioning a rodeo or a gathering of scooters”notes the dispatch.

Despite these slightly discordant versions, the formula “urban rodeo” nevertheless appears in the title of the dispatch. The latter is widely taken up, while the phenomenon of the urban rodeo has been at the heart of the news for several days.

On August 5, two children had indeed been seriously injured in Pontoise as part of an urban rodeo. Traveling to Marseille, a few days later, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, announced a intensification of checks urban rodeos which he called “criminal acts”, adding that he was “favorable to the aggravation of penal means”. The news item from Colmar makes the headlines, and is taken up massively as the story of a young man who died for intervening in the face of a rodeo.

In her press release, the public prosecutor of Colmar, Catherine Sorita-Minard, however, did not mention an urban rodeo. His statement, relayed in another AFP dispatch on August 16, stated: “The first investigations reveal that the victim and friends were bothered by the regular passage of a scooter on the sidewalk” and “the victim asked the driver to move away to stop the noise”. Without mentioning a “rodeo”.

In fact, the term refers to a specific practice. The law passed in 2018 who sanctions “motorized rodeos” describes them as “the fact of adopting, by means of a motorized land vehicle, conduct intentionally repeating maneuvers constituting breaches of specific obligations of safety or prudence provided for by the legislative and regulatory provisions of this code under conditions that compromise the safety of road users or that disturb the public peace”. Understand: the fact, among other things, of performing illegal acrobatics on two wheels (but not only) such as “wheelies”, i.e. rear wheels. The mere fact of driving around, even noisily, on a scooter is not comparable to a “rodeo”.

“There was an incredible media frenzy”

The mayor of Colmar, Eric Straumann (LR), also quickly declared himself circumspect about the mention of rodeo. The latter explained to the media not to be “not entirely convinced” that this assassination is linked to “an urban rodeo phenomenon” first mentioned and suggests that the drama could be linked to “a dispute between two people”. Contacted by CheckNewsthe elected official specifies: “After these events, I spent four hours on the spot with the residents of the district where the tragedy took place. What was explained to me is that this young man on a scooter did not wheelie, he was not on the public road. He was going around this group of Afghans, obviously looking for trouble, making noise, and the Afghans asked him to stop.»

«There was an incredible media frenzy, regret the aedile. This story [de rodéo] took on a large scale, and it was very difficult to deny. It’s still a nuisance, but it’s not because we have a noisy two-wheeler that we have a rodeo. I do not deny the problem of rodeos, which exist, but here the facts seem to me poorly qualified compared to what I heard on the spot. And to add that it is the investigation which will characterize the facts.

The city councilor’s version is corroborated in several articles by journalists who visited the scene. France Blue Alsace insists that a rodeo means “the execution of figures and repeated passages”, what “apparently was not the case. According to the testimonies collected on the spot, the driver of the two-wheeler made his engine hum by accelerating on the spot”. Marianne, for her part, quotes a friend of the victim who delivers a similar version: “There was never a barbecue or a rodeo.” Contacted, the Colmar public prosecutor’s office did not respond to our requests.

Source: Libération by www.liberation.fr.

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