A man who went missing after attending techno festival Fête de la Musique in Nantes that police broke up with rubber bullets and tear gas for running 30 minutes beyond its licensed end time has been confirmed dead.
The body of 24-year-old Steve Maia Caniço was found several hundred metres down the river from the spot he was last seen, after being spotted by passengers on a commuter boat 38 days on from the police raid on June 22.
14 people were said to have fallen into the River Loire, with multiple attendees saying they were blinded by tear gas, and had to be rescued by firefighters. Other witnesses reported seeing a man struggling in the water, and friends of Caniço reported he did not know how to swim.
Nantes Prosecutor Pierre Sennes has revealed a manslaughter inquiry into the incident has opened, with two magistrates tasked with investigating if criminal liability played a role in the death of Caniço.
A campaign for accountability had been pushed for by members of the public and left wing and green party politicians, demanding to know “Where is Steve?” in a spate of posters around Nantes and the question raised in parliament, with French police being accused of excessive force.
Hundreds of protestors form a linked human chain along the River Loire on July 20, observing service and then calling out for “Justice for Steve”.
[#AppelàTémoins] Steve MAIA CANICO est porté disparu depuis le 22 juin vers 4h00 Quai Wilson à #Nantes.— Police Nationale 44 (@PoliceNat44) June 24, 2019
Si vous avez des informations, contactez les enquêteurs.
Merci pour vos partages. pic.twitter.com/Qrj1a9IkWo
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said an internal investigation from the National Police Inspectorate found “no link can be established” between the police’s actions and Caniço’s death. A second investigation is now looking into whether the local administration is accountable for the incident.
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter