Alterment gone bad or racist attack? New elements on the death of Thomas in Crépol

After the death of Thomas during the Crépol ball (Drôme) on November 18 and the indictment of nine suspects, investigators are trying to establish the sequence of events and the starting point of the drama.

Alterment gone bad or racist attack? New elements on the death of Thomas in Crépol

After the death of Thomas during the Crépol ball (Drôme) on November 18 and the indictment of nine suspects, investigators are trying to establish the sequence of events and the starting point of the drama.

The investigation is complex, but the first elements seem to indicate that the attack on Crépol was not the punitive expedition described in the hours following the tragedy. Almost two weeks after the death of Thomas Perotto, 16, at the Drôme village ball organized on November 18, investigators are continuing their investigations and questioning the racist nature of the violent altercations.

Nine suspects were indicted as part of the investigation into Thomas' death and all but one were born in Romans-sur-Isère, a town neighboring Crépol. The question of rivalry between young people from Crépol and those from Romans-sur-Isère, some of whom come from the popular Monnaie district, against a backdrop of ethnic difference arose. But the new elements of the investigation revealed by Le Parisien indicate that while some suspects are indeed of North African origin, others have historically French first and last names. Moreover, of the two main suspects for the murder of Thomas, who present a disturbing physical resemblance and both correspond to the description of the culprit drawn up by several witnesses - "a tall dark-haired man, with long curly hair" -, one named Ilyès Z. and aged 22 is of North African origin and the other aged 17 has no origins other than French. The second being a minor his identity cannot be revealed. The Ile-de-France newspaper specifies that the latter is considered on the run.

Contrary to what was said during the first hours of the investigation, the young people of Romans-sur-Isère would not have planned a punitive expedition based on the latest information. Among the nine suspects, at least four of them even participated in the evening for several hours before the violent confrontation broke out: Chaïd A. (20 years old) identified by his blue and pink Olympique Lyonnais tracksuit , Yanis B.-C. (18 years old), Ilyès Z. (22 years old) and a 16 year old minor. Others remained in front of the village hall. Inside the ball, the young people from Crépol and those from Romans-sur-Isère did not mix. If half of the hundred or so witnesses interviewed said they did not notice any problems during the evening, other participants at the party described a group on the sidelines casting unhealthy glances at the crowd.

Some testimonies in addition to depicting animosity between the two groups report racist insults, notably that of a witness who said she heard from the mouth of her friend Thomas L., a rugby player on Thomas Perotto’s team: “I I want to hit some bullshit.” Nine other witnesses reported to investigators that they had heard comments "hostile to whites" from the Romans later in the evening, once the fight was underway. “We’re going to get you, little white guy,” says one of the witnesses.

According to investigators, an "altercation" between rugby player Thomas L. and Romanais Ilyès Z. "could be at the origin of the brawl" writes Le Parisien citing a police report dated November 25. During the evening, while Jul's song "Tchikita" was played, the rugby player "grabbed my hair and told me that I have long hair like Nikita" the Romanais declared to investigators during his hearing. A provocation in reference to the song poorly received by Ilyès Z. who adds having asked Thomas L. to “get out” on several occasions. “Come on, you come on, we’ll go outside if you have a problem,” the athlete would have replied, again according to the suspect’s testimony. The two men then left the room according to several witnesses.

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