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A Murder in Abidjan

A Murder in Abidjan

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Warning: This film contains graphic sequences of police violence, brutality, and torture.

“If hitting them gets you nowhere, then start starving them. You have to build up the level of violence.” — Superintendent Kouassi

1995. On the outskirts of Abidjan, the largest city in Ivory Coast, a policeman is murdered. Shot outside his vehicle, while his fiancée sits in the car, terrified.

Superintendent Kouassi is the detective in charge of the investigation. Tall and lanky, he moves with the tired energy of a man who has seen it all. Drawing on a network of underworld characters with dubious information, Kouassi’s team begins bringing in potential suspects and subjecting them to horrific brutality: beating them with sticks, hanging them upside-down, threatening their lives. Some of the men are left so broken they have to literally drag themselves into Kouassi’s office later, to be interrogated while lying on the floor, their bodies a mess of bruises, broken bones, and lacerations.

Part of director Mosco Boucault’s “Police Investigations” series, A CRIME IN ABIDJAN powerfully captures the banality of police violence. And it raises the question: Why use such horrific tactics when they are ultimately pointless?

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