Dramane, 15, was lynched with a hammer outside his Essonne high school in May 2021. His mother today has “the impression that the suspects are better protected than the victims”.

She, who had “so confidence” at the start of the investigation, had “a big shock” when she learned of the release, in December, of the two young people indicted for the attempted murder of her son, until then in pre-trial detention.

The two, 17 and 16, were placed under judicial control, with an expulsion measure from the Paris region and a ban on going to Essonne.

For one, this judicial review is linked to the absence of a criminal record. For the other to “a professional integration project capable of limiting reiteration”, reports the Evry prosecution, which has made the fight against brawls a priority in a department which concentrated a quarter of those identified in France in 2020.

Dramane’s mother saw these measures as a real injustice. “While they go about their business, my son is in rehabilitation in the hospital,” she accuses in tears.

At the time of the events, Dramane was a high school student in an establishment located between two so-called rival municipalities, south of Paris: Saint-Michel-sur-Orge and Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois. “My son did not participate in a brawl. He was at school at the wrong time,” says his mother.

Two operations, rehabilitation, speech therapy… Dramane struggles today to concentrate in class, in a new high school where he never goes alone, says his mother.

“We want to move, but I don’t even know where I should go anymore. Where should I go so as not to be attacked?”

– Trophy shoes –

Two “gangs” can compete against a backdrop of territorial rivalries. A group can also target a young person for his belonging to a municipality, his presence on a bus…

The acting out results more from “an opportunity” than from a “real structure”, notes for AFP Florence Luneau, head of the Essonne departmental security. “There are trophy stories. Sometimes they leave with the victim’s shoes.”

The shoes of Jordan (first name changed) were stolen twice, during violent assaults. Today, his mother confides “no longer knowing what to do” other than “locking up” her son “to protect him”.

The first attack took place in 2020 in Essonne. Jordan, 15, remains unconscious for several hours. The second last March. “It’s always the same situation, no one is listening” to act, she denounces. “What are they waiting for, my son to die?”

“What is frightening is the impression that these young people do not fear justice,” comments Avi Bitton, lawyer for the families of Jordan and Dramane.

When AFP spoke for the first time with Jordan’s mother, she had taken her son out of high school for a month. To protect him and by fatalism: impossible for him to go back “without shoes, without bag” – “They stole everything from him” – and she “did not have the means to redeem”.

Two months later, Jordan returns there but never again in transport.

The trial of his first attackers also took place. He did not attend “out of fear”, says his mother.

She was there. “The judge and the prosecutor spoke well”, considers the one who remains frustrated: “I would have liked to say what I feel. I was not given the floor, I did not have this privilege”.

– “Bringing a young person back on track” –

In Val-de-Marne, the phenomenon of “jambisation” has progressed in the past year: knife attacks targeting the lower limbs of the victim while filming the scene to “humiliate the other team on social networks”, explains an investigator.

In 2021, another “challenge” was to introduce knives into schools. “We saw college students with butchers’ knives. They say they have them to defend themselves, just in case,” says another investigator.

Faced with this violence, the families of victims interviewed by AFP are asking for more severity.

The “difficulty” for justice is to find a criminal response for “extremely serious facts” while taking care “not to hinder the possibilities of reintegration” of young people “hitherto integrated”, explains to AFP the prosecution of Creteil.

Because these attacks are often perpetrated by “students who do not pose any real problems in the school environment”, we observe there. “We do not have already very heavy profiles of offenders, and yet we have an immediate and very high level of violence in acting out”.

“This does not mean that we are not concerned about the victim or that we are in otherworldliness”, assures the prosecution, “but our subject is to bring back a young person, who has seriously broken the law, on the path to reintegration”.

– “Aberrations” – 

This context of violence also favors the trivialization of the use of bladed weapons in other forms of violence not linked to gangs.

Mattéo, 17, was fatally stabbed on May 18, 2021 in Champigny-sur-Marne by a teenager from his residence, 16, indicted for murder and placed in pre-trial detention.

This drama upset Matteo’s friends. One of them was hospitalized for a week for “post-traumatic shock”.

“We should help us, accompany us”, denounces Cindy Hinault, of which Mattéo was the only son. She says she “fought” for “eight months to get free therapy”: “You have to call, harass, limit threaten that you are going to commit suicide”.

Associations to help victims exist, but the families interviewed by AFP find them useless.

And if during the investigation, “the police, the investigating judge were brilliant”, “justice finishes us off” then by “its aberrations”, believes Cindy: a procedural irregularity recently canceled certain hearings of the investigation about the murder of his son.

“Fortunately there will be the trial”, projects Cindy, who suffers from insomnia, hives and daily “extreme tension”. “I will fight until the trial but after that, I will not persist in living”.