| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Paris police shooting: Macron says killing of teenager ‘inexcusable’

In rare criticism of law enforcement, French President Emmanuel Macron called the shooting death of a 17-year-old by police during a traffic check near Paris “inexcusable” on Wednesday, hours after the event sparked rioting.

A police officer is being probed for willful killing after shooting the adolescent, who a neighbor said came from an Algerian household. Prosecutors claim he disobeyed an order to halt his automobile early on Monday.

The interior ministry called for calm after at least 31 were arrested in overnight riots, mainly in the Paris suburb of Nanterre where the victim lived, with youths burning cars and shooting fireworks at police, who sprayed people with tear gas.

“We have an adolescent that was killed, it is unexplainable and inexcusable,” Macron told reporters in Marseille.

“Nothing justifies the death of a young man,” he said, before calling for the judiciary to do its work.

Rights groups allege systemic racism inside law-enforcement agencies in France, a charge Macron has previously denied.

A video shared on social media, verified by Reuters, shows two police officers beside the car, a Mercedes AMG, with one shooting at the driver as the car pulled away. He subsequently died from his wounds, the local prosecutor said.

“You have a video that is very clear: a police officer killed a young man of 17 years. We can see that the shooting is not within the rules,” said Yassine Bouzrou, a lawyer for the family.

The family has filed a legal complaint against the officers for homicide, complicity in homicide and false testimony, the lawyer said.

In a video shared on TikTok, a woman identified as the victim’s mother called for a memorial march in Nanterre on Thursday. “Everyone come, we will do a revolt for my son,” she said.

Tuesday’s killing was the third fatal shooting during traffic stops in France so far in 2023 down from a record 13 last year, a spokesperson for the national police said.

There were three such killings in 2021 and two in 2020, according to a Reuters tally, which shows the majority of victims since 2017 were Black or of Arab origin.

France’s human rights ombudsman has opened an inquiry into the death, the sixth such inquiry into similar incidents in 2022 and 2023.

  • Reuters