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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

France braces reels after Nanterre police shooting


Naël M, who is of Algerian heritage, was killed by a police officer in Paris yesterday (Picture: AFP)

Emmanuel Macron has said ‘the whole nation’ is moved after a teenage driver was shot dead by police in Paris, sparking riots across the city.

The French president said the killing, which took place in the Nanterre district yesterday, was ‘unexplainable and inexcusable’.

The incident was videoed on Tuesday after the youth – named only as Naël M – allegedly broke traffic rules.

Anger erupted across the French capital, with violent demonstrations leading to 31 arrests so far.

Around 1,200 police officers and gendarmes were deployed to keep the violence under control last night, and 24 were injured in the clashes.

Naël’s devastated mother, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I lost a 17-year-old, I was alone with him, and they took my baby away from me.

‘He was still a child, he needed his mother.’

The police officer who killed the boy has been detained on homicide charges as an investigation is carried out.

Follow Metro.co.uk’s live rolling coverage of the event as it happens.

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Here’s an overview of the developments so far in Paris, by our video producer Tiyana Lartey:

@metrouk Violent protests erupted overnight after a teenager was reportedly shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop in Nanterre, France. 17-year-old Naël M died at the scene despite receiving help from emergency services. The incident has sparked massive unrest which has seen local residents prompting demands for more police accountability. #metronews #metrouknews #internationalnewsfyp #internationalnewstok #franceriots #nanterreriots #nael #riots #france #french #police #riotpolice #globalnews #globalnewsfyp #globalnewstok #newsfyp #newstok #protests #franceprotests #frenchprotests #paris #policeshooting #news #trafficstop #parisnews #parisfyp #paristok #nanterre ♬ original sound – MetroUK


Green party leader in France, Marine Tondelier, has issued a statement following the incident.

‘What I see on this video is the execution by police of a 17-year-old kid, in France, in 2023, in broad daylight’, she said.

Ms Tondelier added: ‘You get the feeling that our police is becoming like America’s.’

Meanwhile far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon called for ‘a complete redesign of the police force’.

The mayor of Nanterre has said the death of Naël M and the subsequent violence have marked ‘one of the most terrible days’ in the suburb’s history.

Calling the video footage of the incident ‘overwhelming’, Patrick Jarry said: ‘Nanterre has lived one of the most terrible days in its history.’

He said the community ‘wakes up shocked, damaged, scarred and worried by this surge of violence’.

Mr Jarry continued: ‘Several public and private buildings, including a school and a leisure centre, have suffered significant damage, which is obviously unacceptable and for some irreparable.

‘Let’s stop this destructive spiral. Let’s protect our neighborhoods, our common goods that together we had so much trouble building and renovating.’

Tweeting broken heart emojis, French football superstar Kylian Mbappé has weighed in on the death of 17-year-old Naël M in Nanterre.

Naël was shot by police during a traffic stop yesterday, prompting unrest around the nation.

Mbappé, the captain of the national team, wrote on Twitter: ‘I feel bad for my France. 💙🤍💔💔💔

‘An unacceptable situation.

‘All my thoughts go out to Naël’s family and loved ones, this little angel who left far too soon.’

As mentioned before, a record number of deaths caused by police shootings during traffic stops were recorded in France last year: 13.

In late April 2022, two brothers died on the Pont Neuf when they tried to escape a checkpoint.

Shortly afterwards, in early May, a passenger in a car was fatally wounded when police opened fire at a check in the 18th arrondissement.

And just days before last year’s election in June, a woman called Rayana was killed when the driver of the car she was riding in ignored a police order to stop in Paris.

Her friend Inès, 21, said: ‘I’m angry because police could have acted differently.’

The latter incident prompted a political storm after left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who also commented on the Nanterre shooting yesterday, tweeted: ‘The police kill.’

French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken for the first time about the police shooting of a teenager in Nanterre yesterday.

Speaking to the press, he said ‘nothing justifies the death of a young person’.

He described ‘the emotion of the whole nation’ over the killing of Naël M by a police officer, and said the act was ‘unexplainable and inexcusable’.

Macron added: ‘In such a context, you need affection and respect for young Naël and his family.’

French prime minister Elisabeth Borne has spoken about the situation in Nanterre.

Echoing the interior minister earlier today, she focused on the work of the police disciplinary body in determining what really happened during the traffic stop.

She said there was an ‘absolute demand for truth’ in the situation.

Olivier Véran has spoken about the ‘the very strong emotion’ of President Emmanuel Macron and the French government over the death of a teenager in Nanterre yesterday.

He added: ‘We share it with his neighbors, his relatives and the whole nation because he is a 17-year-old.’

Olivier Véran, a spokesman for the French government, has also been talking to the press.

He promised that ‘answers will be given to France and to [Naël’s] family’, and called for ‘calm’ from the people who have taken to the streets.

The interior minister said earlier 2,000 police officers would be deployed this evening.

The mother of Naël M has called for a ‘marche blanche’ to take place, according to French news station BFM TV.

In France and Belgium a marche blanche – or white march – is a solemn procession in memory of someone who has died, that is carried out as a protest.

BFM quotes a video from TikTok, which shows the mother calling for people to gather at the Hauts-de-Seine prefecture.

She says: ‘See you Thursday at the prefecture at 2 p.m., white march. Come on Thursday everyone, we’re doing a march, please, for my son.’

In his press conference, Gérald Darmanin also provided an update on the riots sparked by the shooting yesterday.

He said 1,200 police officers and gendarmes had been deployed to respond. Condemning the violence, he said 31 arrests had been made so far and 24 officers had been injured.

A town hall annex had been burned down, he added, along with around 40 cars.

In an indication that he did not expect the anger to die down soon, Mr Darmanin said 2,000 officers would be mobilised across Île-de-France – the region of France surrounding Paris – tonight.

The interior minister called for calm, but also ‘the truth of the judicial inquiry’.

Describing the images from the widely-shared video as ‘extremely shocking’, he said: ‘In no case would such behaviour that we have seen, if the investigation were to confirm the videos that we have seen, be justified.’

Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, has been speaking to the press about the situation in Nanterre.

He provided more details on the two police officers who carried out the traffic stop last night.

Both are men aged between 38 and 40 years old, he said, and they are ‘experienced’ motorcycle cops who have ‘had no difficulties in their administrative file’.

Mr Darmanin said the officer who is currently in custody has not been suspended, but will be ‘if charges were brought against him’. If they are, it will be in the coming hours, he said.

A lawyer for the family of Naël M had strong words for the police officer accused of murdering the teenager.

Yassine Bouzrou argued that a video of the traffic stop provides clear evidence that the incident was a homicide.

Mr Bouzrou said the video ‘clearly showed a policeman killing a young man in cold blood,’ adding: ‘This is a long way from any kind of legitimate defence.’

Before the release of the video, the police had said the teen drove towards them, threatening their lives.

Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said the action of the officer ‘raises questions’.

So far, the police officer who fired the fatal shot last night has been arrested as part of a homicide investigation.

A passenger in the car that was being driven by Naël M was briefly detained before being released, and police are continuing to search for another passenger who fled the scene.

Meanwhile, the French interior minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted yesterday afternoon: ‘Following the death this morning, in Nanterre, of a young driver controlled by two police officers, the IGPN was seized to shed light on the circumstances of this tragedy.’

The Inspection Générale de la Police Nationale (IGPN) is the French police disciplinary body.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, angry locals began to spill out to the streets of Nanterre and demonstrate their fury at the police.

‘There are mobs setting fire to cars and shooting firework rockets at officers,’ a Paris police spokesman said last night.

Videos from the scene show riot officers holding up shields as they shuffle along the street, past enormous fires.

This is the second fatal shooting by French police at traffic stops this year.

Last year there were a record 13 deaths during police traffic stops in France, after three in 2021 and two in 2020.

A Reuters analysis of such shootings over the past two years found the majority of victims were Black or of Arabic origin, like Naël M.

The deaths have increased demands for more accountability from the country’s police.

France also saw protests against racial profiling and other injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police in Minnesota.

The family of Naël M released this picture of the 17-year-old, with the caption ‘the love of my life’.

His grandmother, who spoke anonymously, said: ‘I will never forgive them.

‘My grandson died, they killed my grandson. We are not happy at all, I am against the government.

‘They killed my grandson, now I don’t care about anyone, they took my grandson from me, I will never forgive them in my life, never, never, never.’

French left-wing leader and three-time presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has tweeted about the events in Paris yesterday, calling for a ‘complete overhaul’ of policing.

Translated to English, the post says: ‘The death penalty no longer exists in France. No policeman has the right to kill except in self-defense. I

‘f it was a refusal to comply by polluters or tax emigrants, we would not ask the question. We have multiplied the alerts.

‘This uncontrolled police force discredits the authority of the state. It needs to be completely overhauled. Heartfelt condolences to the family.’

There are differing accounts of the tragic traffic stop that sparked the anger in Paris today.

A reported statement from police said Naël M, who is of Algerian origin, had threatened to run them over, and officers’ lives were at stake as a result.

However, a team of three lawyers for the driver rejected that.

They cited a video reported to be of the incident circulating online that shows two police officers leaning into the driver-side window of a yellow car, before the vehicle pulls away and one officer fires toward the driver.

According to the AFP news agency, someone in the video can be heard saying: ‘You’re going to be shot in the head.’

However, it is unclear who it is.

Welcome to the Metro live blog for the protests taking place in Paris.

You may remember the dramatic scenes that played out in the French capital earlier this year, after President Emmanuel Macron forced pension reforms through the parliament.

However, today’s protests are unrelated. They were prompted by the shooting of a 17-year-old boy by a police officer after he failed to stop the car he was driving when ordered to.

Thanks for joining us. We will bring you all the latest developments over the course of the day.


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