Axelle Dorier, a 23-year-old French woman and nurse, was struck by a vehicle and dragged 800 meters to her death on July 19 while walking her dog in the city of Lyon, with prosecutors stating that the migrant driver “knowingly knocked down” and drove away from her dismembered body.
The 21-year-old driver, Youcef T., has been placed into custody for “manslaughter” for being responsible for the “hit-and-run death”, Lyon prosecutors say.
Maître Céline Cooper, a far-left lawyer who is defending the suspect said the popular outrage over the incident is from right-wing citizens and lambasted the French Minister of the Interior of having spoken of “murder” in the case.
The atrocious killing has sent shockwaves through France just a week after 58-year-old bus driver Philippe Monguillot was beaten to death by four migrant men, one of which was from Africa, who was arrested in the apartment of Mohammed A, an individual already known to the police. The incident prompted his wife Veronique to tell French newspaper Le Parisien, “We were destroyed in a few seconds, I have the impression of living a nightmare. A nightmare which is getting worse by the day.” Monguillot was killed for trying to enforce a mandatory mask rule on the bus and for demanding the men purchase tickets when they tried to force their way onboard.
In addition, on July 6, 26-year-old French gendarme Mélanie Lemée was killed by an African male who ran her over as he tried to escape a police checkpoint. During the police chase that ensued, he fatally struck the female officer with his vehicle, tearing her leg off. Not only was he on narcotics, but his license had been suspended since 2019.
23-year-old nurse’s death sparks rage in France
Now, on top of these two recent incident, the death of Dorier on July 19 is sending the French nation into grief and leading many to question the growing violence both citizens and authorities are facing.
Following Dorier’s death, the hashtags #JusticePourAxelle and #OnVeutLesNoms, which translates to “We want their names” began trending on social networks in reference to the two men indicted on Monday evening, according to Lyon Mag.
Adeline Noirmain, an advisor to Les Republicans, wrote that “Axelle is part of the silent majority who live their life without fuss but who endure violence. She will not be entitled to the mobilization of show business and her family will not be erected as an icon like the Traores. Insufferable and revolting.”
Axelle fait partie de la majorité silencieuse, qui vit sa vie sans histoires mais qui subit la violence.
Elle n’aura pas droit à la mobilisation du show-business et sa famille ne sera pas érigée en icône comme les Traoré.
Insupportable et révoltant.#JusticePourAxelle pic.twitter.com/BZXBuBU409
— Adeline (@AdelineNoirmain) July 20, 2020
French prosecutors say that the driver, Youcef T., was originally at a birthday party with 40 people in the 5th arrondissement. He and his friend left the party in two separate vehicles and his friend, driving a Twingo, struck a dog, killing it.
Youcef T. claims he “panicked” after the owners of the dog became aggressive and began to attack both his friend and himself. Youcef T. sped away and only to strike Dorier while she walking her own dog. He said he did not realize that she became wedged in his vehicle and simply kept driving.
Dorier had her arm ripped off as Youcef T. dragged her for 800 meters.
According to Lyon Mag, Youcef T. is also being accused by police of driving with a suspended license.
Police say they received a call over a dispute between two motorists and a group of young people who accused him of killing their dog. A few minutes later, they received a second call about “a motorist driving a Golf who knowingly ran over a young woman and dragged her for several meters”, according to La Depeche.
Dorier was first struck by Youcef T, but actually managed to get up, at which point a number of witness accounts say the “driver then purposefully began accelerating” while dragging her behind.
Three hours after Dorier was struck and killed, Youcef T. and his passenger turned themselves into the police and admitted to striking the woman, but claim they did not realize they dragged her for nearly a kilometer. Originally from the Lyon metropolitan area, blood alcohol tests were negative.
The 19-year-old passenger, Mohamed Y., was indicted “for non-assistance to a person in danger” and released under judicial supervision,
The Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin paid tribute to Dorier Tuesday at the National Assembly, saying, “The tragedy is particularly horrific. I thank the rescue and police forces for intervening immediately. We all hope that those responsible for this murder are promptly punished and punished.”
Je tiens à avoir une pensée pour cette jeune aide-soignante lyonnaise dont la mort d’une violence extrême a suscité une vive émotion.
Je remercie les forces de police et de secours pour leur intervention rapide.
Ces actes odieux ne doivent pas rester impunis. pic.twitter.com/NL9dtK62px
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) July 21, 2020
National Rally leader Marine Le Pen wrote, “What level of barbarism must we reach for the French people to say stop to this wildness of our society? How many policemen, gendarmes, bus drivers, slaughtered young girls or boys does it take?”
Quel niveau de barbarie faut-il atteindre pour que le peuple français dise stop à cet ensauvagement de notre société ? Combien de policiers, gendarmes, conducteurs de bus, jeune filles ou jeunes garçons massacrés faut-il ? MLPhttps://t.co/dnh8uctVV1
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) July 20, 2020
Police also paid their respects to the young woman by gathering at the scene of her killing in large numbers on Wednesday.
— Julien Damboise (@JDANDOU) July 22, 2020
Detectives say they are continuing to investigate the case and urge anyone with information about the hit-and-run of Dorier to come forward.