Paul Bauzelon, a young civil servant at the Ministry of Finance, said he was returning from a movie and opening the door of his apartment building when Oussekine tried to rush into the hallway to escape the police. But the police followed him in, clubbing and kicking him and beating Bauzelon as well. Oussekine, a French citizen born in Algeria, was left unconscious.
An ambulance was called, but Oussekine died soon after reaching the hospital. The office of the French public prosecutor later issued a statement saying that Oussekine, a small, thin man, had no skull wounds and that the wounds to his face and to the rest of his body were not enough to have caused his death. The prosecutor's office said death had come from a heart attack. But a lawyer for Oussekine's family complained that the police had refused to allow him to participate in the preliminary investigation.
The government of [Jacques Chirac] had tried to appease the students a few hours before the death of Oussekine by pledging to postpone consideration of the most controversial features of its proposed university legislation. The students feared that these features would make the universities more selective and more expensive and thus endanger their chances for degrees.