A French magistrate has dropped a manslaughter investigation into a crash involving a motorbike and a police car that killed two teenagers and sparked riots in 2007, a lawyer for the boys' families said Monday.
The magistrate did so after a prosecutor said the boys were riding without helmets on a motorbike that had no brakes or lights, and that they did not respect right of way rules at an intersection.
A lawyer for the boys' families, Jean-Pierre Mignard, told TV station I-Tele that he would appeal, arguing that the police shared responsibility for the crash because of their vehicle's speed and lack of a siren.
Riots broke out in the working-class suburb of Villiers-le-Bel in November 2007 after the teens were killed, and the unrest spread. A police investigation into the case also absolved the officers of any responsibility in the deaths of Lakamy Samoura, 15, and Mohsin Sehhouli, 16. The officers were not charged.
While police insisted the crash was accidental, many youths blamed the officers and began the riots.
The 2007 unrest drew comparisons to more widespread riots that raged through poor suburbs nationwide for three weeks in 2005, highlighting simmering anger in poor housing projects where many Arabs, blacks and other minorities live, often isolated from mainstream society.
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