This is not how he had imagined his stay in France.
American national, Mohamed Sidibay thought to "take a break" by arriving in Paris in September 2020, to follow a highly selective third cycle in law (LLM, the equivalent of a Master) at the University of Paris-1 Panthéon Assas.
"In the United States, where racism has permeated society, I know anything can happen if I have to deal with the police, and even the worst," said the 28-year-old.
“I know that France has its problems,” he continues, “but I thought that in Europe, things would be different.
I was probably naive.
Former child soldier in Sierra Leone saved by Unicef, this boy with a model career, who has chained the conferences around the world, has just lodged a complaint against X for aggravated violence and discrimination after the mishap he suffered at the police station of the 5th arrondissement, from where he came out with a slight head trauma.
On April 15, two days after the complaint, the Paris prosecutor's office opened a preliminary investigation into the count of willful violence by a person holding public authority.
The investigations were entrusted to the Deontology Department of the Paris Police Prefecture (SDSE).
Placed in sobering up
On April 9, Mohamed Sidibay celebrated with three friends obtaining a diploma from one of his relatives, in the 9th arrondissement. At the beginning of the evening, the small group decides to go to their home in the 5th arrondissement. The student, who has obtained refugee status in the United States where he intends to work as a lawyer, climbs in the back of the two-wheeler driven by one of the participants. Just before arriving, they are checked by a police crew. The driver has a blood alcohol level slightly above the authorized limit: she is taken to the station and placed in a sobering-up cell. Mohamed, who claims to have drunk less, refuses to breathe into the breathalyzer, because he does not see the usefulness of it as a simple passenger.
After a return trip home, the student returns to the police station with a friend to check on his friend.
In particular, he wants to know if she was able to speak with a lawyer.
They are then explained that she does not have the possibility of doing so as long as she is sober.
According to him, one of the police officers, unhappy to see him insist, pushes him then, at 11 p.m., decides to stop him because of his alleged drunkenness.
Police violence: "Racial polarization in the United States is much more powerful than in France"
"The police knew very well that I was not drunk," Mohamed assures us.
I told them that I was finally okay with taking a test, but they told me it was too late.
»Deprived of his personal belongings, the native of Sierra Leone is in turn placed in sobriety.
“If my client had actually shown the signs of drunkenness, the police would have noticed it sooner.
The deprivation of his rights was therefore abusive ”, develops his lawyer Me Marie Dosé.
Several times during the night, Mohamed Sidibay explains that he banged on the door of his cell to obtain the right to see a lawyer.
Between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., he was finally checked out and given a ticket for obvious drunkenness on the public highway.
“It was to get rid of me, but I told them I wouldn't leave without seeing a lawyer and that I was going to file a complaint.
I added that there was a problem because I had arrived with a white woman in front of the police station, but I was the only one in front of them.
The most excited policeman then grabbed me to tell me in English:
France is not racist, you have no rights here and if you are not happy, you just have to go back to your country
”, relates the complainant.
“He was very pissed off.
He shook me and my head hit the wall.
One of his colleagues told him to calm down, but otherwise the others did not react.
That's what disappointed me the most, ”adds the young man.
Released in the middle of the night but very shocked, Mohamed gets in touch with the United States Embassy, which advises him to go to the emergency room. His injuries were mild, but the doctor nevertheless noticed a slight swelling in the skull. Ultimately, the emergency physician makes a diagnosis of head trauma without neurological deficit.
Disgusted, Mohamed Sidibay assures us that he will leave “disappointed” with his visit to France.
“I did not expect that I would be deprived of the exercise of my rights and taken for a fool.
I know the way I was treated was not fair, ”he repeats.
In 2018, he accompanied President Macron to Dakar (Senegal) on the occasion of the financing conference of the Global Partnership for Education.
From now on, the student aspires to return to the United States, to prepare for the entrance examination to the New York bar.
Mohamed, accompanied by his lawyer, will be heard this Wednesday by investigators from the Ethics Department of the Prefecture of Police.