- A French prosecutor says the police officer who killed Nahel M, a teenager of North African descent, would be investigated for “voluntary homicide”.
- Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says 40,000 police officers will be deployed across France on Thursday night, including 5,000 in Paris, after two nights of violent riots.
- The mother of Nahel calls for a tribute march in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, the teenager’s hometown where he was killed.
- President Emmanuel Macron holds an emergency security meeting about the violence, condemning “totally unjustifiable” acts.
‘The police is shielded from accountability in France’: Activist
The shooting of Nahel M has reignited a debate in France about police tactics amid longstanding criticism from rights groups about the treatment of people in low-income suburbs, particularly ethnic minorities.
Civil rights activist Yasser Louati told Al Jazeera: “What does not surprise us at all is the speed at which the talking points of the police were immediately relayed by the mainstream media in France. Thank God there was a video that emerged online contradicting the official version of the police, pushing the government to react.”
“At the same time, we should not forget to note how Macron was quick to react to the outburst of violence last night … he called the anger unjustifiable.
“The police is shielded from accountability in France … there is no transparency.”
‘Everybody in Nanterre understands anger is simmering’: AJ correspondent
Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Nanterre, said: “A lot of people in the streets, mainly young men, threw fireworks at police officers. It is quieter now. This is a suburb like any other where people have to go to work and school, and the majority of people aren’t taking part in this violence. They are often very scared. Some people are worried about parking their cars.
“They don’t want to see the violence, but they are torn; everybody here understands the anger that is simmering. Nearly everyone saw that video,” Butler said.
“It’s a difficult situation for the French government – they do not want to see a repeat of the scenes in 2005 when there were weeks of unrest.
“They don’t want this to spiral even further; the worry again is what happens with the police officer. Unless people feel justice has been served and the police officer is punished, if he is found guilty, then the situation could become further inflamed.”
France to deploy 40,000 police officers on Thursday night
France’s interior minister said on Thursday that 40,000 police officers would be mobilised overnight to quell the violence that engulfed cities and towns across the country.
“The state must be firm in its response, tonight 40,000 policemen will be mobilised, including 5,000 in the Paris region, versus 9,000 yesterday,” Gerald Darmanin said.
Public prosecutor’s office in Nanterre investigates police officer over killing
A French prosecutor said a police officer would be investigated for “voluntary homicide” following Tuesday’s shooting.
The officer is to be remanded in custody, the public prosecutor’s office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre announced in a statement on Thursday.
According to the current state of the investigation, the legal requirements for the use of the weapon had not been met.
Video surveillance images, witnesses’ videos, and witness statements had made it possible to reconstruct the circumstances of the check, the statement added.
According to prosecutors, the 17-year-old had been driving at high speed in Nanterre on Tuesday morning with two passengers on board the vehicle and had crossed a bus lane. A first attempt by two police officers on motorbikes to stop him at a traffic light failed.
The young man drove away at a red light and continued his escape on pavements, the public prosecutor’s office said.
When the officers caught up with him a little later and stopped him, they both pointed their weapons at the teenager at the level of the driver’s door and demanded that he switch off the engine.
When the suspect suddenly drove off; one officer fired a shot, the statement
Overnight unrest results in 150 arrests: Interior minister
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says 150 arrests have been made across the country during a second night of protests over the killing of Nahel M, a teenager of North African descent, by a police officer during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.
Darmanin said 170 police officers have been injured in the protests, adding that none of the injuries was life-threatening.