Two Gang Members Allegedly Involved in Brutal Attack on French Jewish Man Surrender to Paris Cops
Two men allegedly involved in a brutal attack on a Jewish man in Paris that resulted in his death as he tried to escape have voluntarily surrendered to the French authorities.
The pair, aged 28 and 24, told police officers at the station in the Seine-Saint-Denis neighborhood in Paris that they had participated in the Feb. 17 attack on Jérémy Cohen in the Bobigny neighborhood of the French capital. A harrowing video of the attack that came to light nearly a month later showed Cohen attempting to flee from about a dozen gang members who were beating him severely. As he ran into the street to escape the blows, a dazed Cohen was fatally struck by an oncoming tram.
Both the French authorities and Cohen’s family have stressed that no firm evidence has yet emerged proving that the attack was antisemitic in nature. The Cohen family had earlier expressed frustration with the progress of the police investigation, with Jérémy’s brothers launching a flyer campaign in the Bobigny neighborhood requesting further information about his death. On March 10, the family received a grainy cellphone video that subsequently went viral, showing the gang members surrounding their victim in a doorway on a busy street, as passengers in cars that were attempting to drive by passively watched the attack unfold.
Because of its distant camera angle, the video did not show whether Cohen was wearing the kippah that normally adorned his head when he was attacked, which would have clearly identified him as Jew. A white kippah was recovered from the scene of the assault by investigators.
The widespread sharing of the video of the assault meant that Cohen’s fate became an issue at the tail-end of campaigning for the first round of the French presidential election, held last Sunday. The maverick far-right candidate Eric Zemmour — who has urged his supporters to vote for Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Rally (RN) in her April 24 face-0ff against incumbent Emmanuel Macron — seized on the attack as dramatic evidence of delinquent behavior in the gritty suburbs of French cities. Zemmour’s stance earned him the warm praise of the Cohen family, with Jérémy’s father Gerald telling an interviewer that for “a month and a half, we heard nothing from the investigation. We wrote to Eric Zemmour who was kind enough to talk about our suffering and Jérémy’s death.”
On Wednesday afternoon, police confirmed that they were extending the detentions of both the men now in custody.