Paris: Outrage and protests after French-Algerian teen shot dead by police
There has been outrage over the killing of a 17-year-old French-Algerian by French police, provoking condemnation by prominent celebrities like Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe and actor Omar Sy.
The youth, named as Nael M, was driving in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday morning, when police pulled him over for road misconduct.
Footage online shows an officer shooting the teenager at point-blank range while he was in the car, causing the vehicle to crash into a post.
Despite aid from emergency services, Nael M died shortly after as a result of bullet wounds in his chest.
Police initially said that one officer shot at the teenager because he was driving his car at him, but the footage appears to show the two policemen standing by the side of a stationary car.
One police officer points a weapon at the driver, while a voice can be heard saying "You are going to get a bullet in the head".
Under several hashtags, including #JusticeForNael, online users expressed anger over the youth's shooting.
“As a mother from Nanterre, I have a feeling of insecurity for our children,” said Mornia Labssi, a local resident and an anti-racism campaigner, who said the victim’s family was of Algerian descent.
"They would never have fired if he wasn't Muslim," one Twitter user wrote.
Some users speculated that the killing was a result of police racial animosity, with one writing: "Film the police. Always. Everywhere. Especially when they approach blacks or arabs #Nanterre"
Translation: 17-year-old driver killed in Nanterre. This morning I think of the parents of #Nael . This story sticks with me because it gives reason to what I often hear in the office: "doctor, it's my face that they don't like"
Translation: Did the policeman think of his parents? The only solution was to shoot him at close range? Does a refusal to comply deserve a bullet in the heart? Have you restored the death penalty in France?
The mother of the teenager posted a video on TikTok calling for a tribute march for her son on Thursday. “This is a revolt for my son,” she said.
On Twitter, the football star Mbappe described the incident as an "unacceptable situation," adding that "all my thoughts go out to Naël's family and loved ones, this little angel who left far too soon".
Lupin star Omar Sy also expressed his "thoughts and prayers" to the family of Nael M. "May justice worthy of the name honor the memory of this child," he wrote.
Anger also spilled into the streets of France, with people protesting in Nanterre on Tuesday night. Around 31 protesters were arrested after cars, bus stops and bins were set alight. People also set off fireworks around nearby police stations and a town hall was firebombed.
Riot police dispersed protestors, and used barricades and tear gas.
The towns of Asnieres, Colombes, Suresnes, Aubervilliers, Clichy-sous-Bois and Mantes-la-Jolie joined in to protest the shooting.
Two other people had also been in the vehicle at the time of the incident. One fled the scene while the other - a minor - was arrested and held by police.
The 38-year-old police officer accused of shooting Nael M has since been detained on homicide charges.
Paris police chief Laurent Nunez told the French channel BFMTV that the policeman's action "raises questions", suggesting, however, that he may have felt threatened.
Nael M’s family lawyer, Yassine Bouzrou, said that the video “clearly showed a policeman killing a young man in cold blood", adding that the family had filed a complaint against the officers for "lying", after claims that the car had attempted to ram into the officers
Another of the 17-year-old’s family lawyers, Jennifer Cambla, described the death as an "execution".
The teenager is the second killing this year to have been caused by the police over traffic violations.
In early June, a 19-year-old driver was shot dead in the French town of Angouleme. In 2022, 13 people were killed in a similar way.