Mort d’Adama Traoré

Death of Adama Traoré: reconstruction and grey areas

By analysing CCTV footage, police radio transcripts and the hearings of key testimonies, Le Monde, in partnership with Forensic Architecture, has reconstructed in images and in 3D the last hours of Adama Traoré, who died in police custody on 19 July 2016.

Published on 17.07.2020

At the time this investigation was published, INDEX was still being incubated within the Forensic Architecture research agency. INDEX is therefore not the direct author of this investigation, which is signed by Forensic Architecture and Le Monde.

Date of incident



Beaumont-sur-Oise (95), France



Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black man, died in police custody on 19 July 2016, in Beaumont-sur-Oise, in the northern suburbs of Paris. Around 5 pm that day, Traoré came across a patrol of three police officers. Two hours later, he was lying dead on the floor of police station of Persan. The uncertainty surrounding his death sparked a major protest movement across France, which continues to this day.

Based on the statements of various witnesses, CCTV footage and other elements of the ongoing official investigation, Le Monde and Forensic Architecture have produced a detailed reconstruction of the events that led to Traoré’s death.

Despite the scrutiny to which the police officers were subjected during their official interrogations, their statements do not allow for a single and unequivocal version of events to emerge. For this reason, Forensic Architecture produced multiple digital reconstructions of key moments, visualising the distinct and at times conflicting accounts given by each officer. Our investigation reveals how the main medical expertise commissioned by the courts relies on a single, and contradictory, testimony.

Due to the inherently partial nature of testimonial evidence, this investigation does not provide a definitive conclusion on the circumstances of Adama Traoré’s death, but highlights the gap that remains between the official version of the facts and the available evidence.


The main challenge of this investigation was the absence of any material evidence surrounding the circumstances of Traoré’s arrest, inside the apartment where he was apprehended. The only source of information available was the statements of the three police officers who made the arrest. Each officer delivered three different statements between 2016 and 2018. Between these statements, a single version of the events fails to emerge. For this reason, Forensic Architecture produced multiple digital reconstructions of key moments, visualising the distinct and sometimes conflicting narratives given by each agent.

The process of 3D modeling the positions and gestures of the suspect and the three officers, as described in their own statements, allowed a detailed study of the configuration of their bodies, and highlighted the « grey areas » that still exist around the causes of Traoré’s death.

Conditions of arrest of Adama Traoré : Scenario 1 (based on all the successive hearings of the three officers)
Conditions of arrest of Adama Traoré : Scenario 2 (based only on the initial hearings of the three officers)

The same reconstruction process was used to visualise the conditions in which Traoré was held. Other contradictions thus emerged as to the assistance Traoré received (or did not receive) after losing consciousness in police custody.

Despite the many requests made by the family of Adama Traoré and their lawyer, French justice has still not ordered that a physical reconstruction of the key moments of the unfolding be carried out.


Project leadFrancesco Sebregondi
3D modelling and reconstructionAntoine Schirer
Nicholas Masterton
InvestigationNicolas Chapuis
Asia Ballufier
Motion designOlivier Escher
Marceau Bretonnier
Editorial coordinationCharles-Henry Groult

Voir aussi

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