French police officer investigated after fatally shooting Algerian teen

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A French police officer is being investigated for homicide after shooting dead a 17-year-old on Tuesday morning in the Paris suburb of Nanterre after the youth failed to comply with an order to stop his car, the local prosecutor’s office said.

BFM TV broadcast images of sporadic clashes breaking out between youths and police on Tuesday evening, as anger over the death of the teenager grew in the local community.

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The officer fired at the boy, who subsequently died from his wounds, said the Nanterre prosecutor’s office.

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.

After a record 13 deaths from police shootings in France during traffic stops last year, this is the second fatal shooting in such circumstances in 2023.

Three people were killed by police shooting after refusing to comply with a traffic stop in 2021 and two in 2020. A Reuters tally of fatal shootings in 2021 and 2022 shows the majority of victims were Black or of Arabic origin.

“As a mother from Nanterre, I have a feeling of insecurity for our children,” said Mornia Labssi, a local resident and anti-racism campaigner, who said she had spoken to the victim’s family, which she said was of Algerian origin.

One passenger was taken into police custody but later released while police were unable to contact another passenger, the prospector’s office said. The driver was “known to the judicial services for having refused to comply with a traffic stop” on a previous occasion, it said.

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

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a Twitter post that the General Inspectorate of the National Police was investigating “to shed light on the circumstances of this drama.”

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