Riots erupt after French police kill teen in caron June 28, 2023 at 6:29 am

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Unrest follows the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old who failed to obey traffic police.

A screen grab of a video shared online showing a yellow car with a police officer pointing a gun at the driverImage source, Reuters

French police have shot dead a 17-year-old who failed to stop when ordered to by traffic police outside Paris on Tuesday.

Video circulating on social media shows a police officer pointing a gun at the driver of a car, before a gunshot is heard. The car then crashes to a stop.

The teenager died from a gunshot to the chest at the scene, despite the help of emergency services.

Fifteen people were arrested following protests and unrest overnight.

The footage of the incident, verified by AFP news agency, shows two police officers trying to stop the vehicle. One points his weapon at the driver through the window and appears to fire at point-blank range as he tries to drive off.

The agency also reports that in the video a person can be heard saying “you’re going to be shot in the head” – but it is unclear who said it.

The victim has been named as Naël M.

Two others were in the car at the time of the shooting – of whom one fled while another, also a minor, was arrested and held by police.

The 38-year-old officer accused of shooting the teen has been detained on homicide charges.

The shooting triggered a series of protests on Tuesday night in Nanterre, the area just west of Paris where the teenager was killed.

Cars and rubbish bins were set alight, and bus shelters destroyed. Fireworks were also set off near the police station. Riot police used tear gas to break up protesters, some of whom created barricades throughout the night.

A firefighter extinguishes a car set alight in a protest on June 27, 2023 in Nanterre, France.

Image source, Getty Images

French authorities have opened two separate investigations following the teen’s death – one into the possible intentional killing by a person in a position of public authority, and another into the driver’s failure to stop and allegedly attempt to kill the police officer.

Paris police chief Laurent Nuñez told French television station BFMTV that the policeman’s actions “raises questions”, though he suggested the officer may have felt threatened.

The 17-year-old’s family lawyer Yassine Bouzrou insisted that was an illegitimate defence, telling the same channel the video “clearly showed a policeman killing a young man in cold blood”.

He added that the family had filed a complaint against police for “lying” – after initially claiming the car had tried to run down the officers.

Another lawyer representing the victim’s family, Jennifer Cambla, told local media that nothing could justify what had happened, and described the death as an “execution”.

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told parliament on Tuesday the two officers involved in the incident were being questioned by the police. He said the video shared on social media was “extremely shocking”.

Left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to the family of the teen. “No officer has the right to kill unless in self-defence,” he wrote in a tweet.

“This uncontrolled police force discredits the authority of the state. It needs to be completely overhauled,” he added.

Two weeks ago, a 19-year-old driver was shot dead by police in the western France town of Angouleme, after allegedly hitting an officer in the legs during a traffic stop.

Last year, a record 13 people died from police shootings in France during traffic stops. The death of Naël M is the second this year.

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