French Policeman Charged Over the Shooting of Teen at Traffic

A homicide charge has been brought against a French officer, who is currently detained for the murder of a teenager during a traffic stop near Paris last Tuesday.

Nahel M, a 17-year-old Algerian and Moroccan descent was fatally shot at close quarters while trying to drive away, and shortly thereafter, he crashed.

His death has ignited nationwide outrage, leading to violent demonstrations. A protest headed by the deceased’s mother took an ugly turn with confrontations on Thursday afternoon.

During the third consecutive evening of disruption, arrests were made in Lille and Marseille.

In Nanterre, the location of the teenager’s death, an extensive fire devoured the ground level of a building that houses a bank. Video footage and images circulating on social media also seem to show heaps of trash burning in various locations.

In anticipation of further disturbances, bus and tram operations in Paris and surrounding areas were halted at 21:00 local time (2 am GMT+7).

Certain suburbs have implemented nocturnal curfews. Transportation systems have also seen interruptions in Lille and Tours.

Approximately 40,000 law enforcement officers have been mobilized across France to manage the upheaval, after the rioting on Tuesday and Wednesday night caused damage to cars and structures in several French cities.

France’s Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, reported that 170 officers sustained injuries solely from Wednesday night’s clashes and 180 individuals were detained.

In Thursday afternoon’s turmoil, officers were hurt in Nanterre, following a mostly peaceful protest demanding justice that attracted over 6,000 participants.

The French Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, expressed her understanding of the emotional outcry over the 17-year-old’s demise, but denounced the riots.

“Nothing justifies the violence that’s occurred,” she declared.

The young man’s passing has triggered broader discussions regarding the power wielded by the police and the relationship between the authorities and France’s suburban dwellers, who feel alienated from the affluent city centers.

Nahel’s attorney, Yassine Bouzrou, revealed to the media saying, “We have a law and judicial system that protects police officers and it creates a culture of impunity in France.”

However, Nahel’s mother didn’t hold the police as a whole, or the system, accountable for the murder – she solely blamed the officer who delivered the fatal shot that ended her son’s life.

The officer implicated in the shooting defended his actions, stating that he had discharged his weapon because he believed his life was threatened.

His attorney communicated to RTL, a French radio station, that his client acted “in full compliance of the law”.