The driver of the 19-ton truck plowed into crowds along the promenade in Nice, despite heavy vehicles being banned on public holidays in France and those over 3.5 tons being barred from the promenade all year round. There was also criticism of the police for not deploying enough forces to secure the event or prevent vehicles entering the pedestrian zone.
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve initially said "national police were present and very present on the Promenade des Anglais" and that their cars were blocking the entrance to the promenade. However, he later admitted only local police, who are more lightly armed than national police, were guarding the entrance to the area.
According to the Liberation newspaper, only one local police car was stationed at the entrance to the promenade. Cazeneuve has ordered an inquiry into the security at the event and the reasons why the attacker was able to drive to the area several times before being able to mow down scores of people.
According to France 24, lawyer Samia Maktouf — whose clients already include relatives of victims of the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed — said she had been contacted by people injured in the Nice attack and their families to file lawsuits against local authorities and the French state.
"These people are shocked, sickened, they simply cannot understand how it was possible for such a large truck to drive freely around town on the night of our national holiday," Maktouf said.
She is representing 17 families of victims of last November's Paris attacks and plans to take action against the French and Belgians for "the very serious security dysfunctions" that led to the attacks.