The aftermath of a night of rioting in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Wednesday sparked by the fatal police shooting of a teen during a traffic stop. As many as 2,000 officers were subsequently drafted into Nanterre and surrounding western suburbs to prevent further outbreaks of violence. Photo by Mohammed Badra/EPA-EFE
June 28 (UPI) — French security forces fired tear gas as they battled hundreds of protestors who torched cars and bus shelters and set up barricades in the western Paris suburbs overnight Tuesday after a teenager was allegedly shot dead during a traffic stop.
At least 24 people were arrested as about 350 police and paramilitary officers were sent in to break up the protests that emerged mostly in Nanterre, where the shooting occurred.
“This mobilization will be prolonged for as long as necessary,” Paris Police Chief Laurent Nunez said.
Nunez said a police officer had been arrested on suspicion of “culpable homicide” at around 8:18 a.m. local time after an officer had shot the 17-year-old when he attempted to flee the stop.
“This vehicle made a first refusal to comply, then it was blocked in the flow of traffic where there was a new control attempt by the two police officers,” he said, adding three people were in the car.
“At that time the driver, who had first turned off the engine, restarted the vehicle, then left. It was in this context that the policeman used his firearm.”
The teen, identified as Naël M, was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m. after sustaining “at least one gunshot wound,” according to the Nanterre prosecutor’s office.
Investigations have been launched into a possible killing by a public official and the driver’s failure to stop the vehicle and alleged attempt to kill a police officer.
Nunez said it was possible the officer may have felt threatened but said the choice of actions “raises questions.”
The incident, the second fatal shooting to occur during a police traffic stop in France this year sparked following a record 13 similar deaths in 2022, sparked an outcry from President Emmanuel Macron on down.
While calling for calm to allow “justice to carry out its work” and prevent the situation from escalating, Macron said it was an “inexplicable” and “inexcusable” killing that had moved the whole country.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a Twitter post that the actions of the police appeared to be unacceptable, adding that he had ordered an investigation by IGPN, the police watchdog.
Paris Saint-Germaine soccer star Kylian Mbappe and actor Omar Sy also spoke out calling for justice.
“I’m hurting for my France. An unacceptable situation. All my thoughts go out to Naël’s family and loved ones, this little angel gone far too soon,” Mbabbe said on Twitter.
The were reports of sporadic unrest in the neighboring suburbs of Asnières, Colombes, Suresnes, Aubervilliers, Clichy-sous-Bois and Mantes-la-Jolie.