(JTA) — A former police commissioner in France called for a probe of three officers for failing to save a Jewish woman who was killed by a Muslim man in her home while they were waiting for backup outside her Paris apartment.
Sammy Ghozlan, a retired commissioner and head of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism watchdog group, told officials and family members of the victim, Sarah Halimi, that an internal review was necessary.
French Jewish leaders criticized authorities’ handling of the investigation into the killing of Halimi by her neighbor, whom neighbors said had called her “Satan” and shouted “Allahu akbar” before throwing her to her death from her third-story window.
The suspect, Kobili Traore, was placed under psychiatric evaluation as per his temporary insanity claim though he has no history of mental illness.
A draft indictment against him published by the Paris Prosecutor’s office did not mention a hate crime, prompting the CRIF umbrella group of French Jews to criticize the judiciary and what CRIF said was indifference by the media.
During the attack, three armed police officers arrived at the apartment before Halimi’s defenestration but decided against breaking into the apartment while waiting for backup, an investigation by BNVCA revealed, Ghozlan said.
“The police officers’ conduct suggests they had suspected a terrorist attack in progress, rather than a neighborly dispute,” Ghozlan said. “If this is the case, and there is reason to believe the attack was terrorist in nature, than this case is not being treated accordingly. It is very unusual,” he added.
Ghozlan also said he feared that the officers may have refrained from taking action for fear of triggering violence or other forms of unrest through an altercation with a Muslim suspect, a scenario which in 2006 prompted riots across France, featuring the burning of cars and buildings.