| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Youths clash with police near Paris after teenager shot dead in traffic stop

Protesters armed with fireworks clashed with riot police in a Paris suburb overnight after a 17-year-old man was shot dead by police during a traffic stop and prosecutors opened a homicide investigation.

Thirty-one people were arrested in the clashes in which 40 cars were burned, mostly in Nanterre, the Paris suburb where the victim was from, interior minister Gerald Darmanin said on Wednesday.

Video footage showed at least one building on fire and burnt-out barricades on the road. Fireworks were aimed at police, who fired tear gas at the crowd.

Darmanin called for calm on BFMTV on Wednesday morning and said “justice must be done and the truth must be told.” Some 2,000 police have been mobilised in the region, he said.

He added that the police officer would be suspended from his function if the charges against him are upheld.

Prosecutors on Tuesday said the shooting took place after the youth failed to comply with an order to stop his car. The officer fired at the boy, who subsequently died from his wounds, it said.

A video shared on social media, verified by Reuters, shows two police officers beside the car, a Mercedes AMG, with one shooting as the driver pulled away.

Local resident and anti-racism campaigner, Mornia Labssi, who said she had spoken to the victim’s family, said his name was Nael and that he was of Algerian origin. Prosecutors did not identify the victim.

Paris police chief Laurent Nunez told BFMTV that “this act raises questions for me” and that the justice system would decide whether or not it was appropriate.

The two officers who carried out the traffic stop, aged between 38 and 40, were experienced, Darmanin said.

French actor Omar Sy expressed his support for the family of the victim on Twitter and called for “justice to honour the memory of this child.”

Paris Saint-Germain footballer Kylian Mpabbe tweeted heartbreak emojies and wrote “I’m hurting for my France. An unacceptable situation.”

There have been two fatal shootings during traffic stops in France so far in 2023.

  • Reuters