Macron Slams 'Inexcusable' Killing of Teen at Traffic Stop

Video shows officer who shot 17-year-old may have lied about the circumstances
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2023 12:30 PM CDT
Macron Slams 'Inexcusable' Killing of Teen at Traffic Stop
Flowers are attached to a pole where a young man was killed by a police officers, Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in Nanterre, outside Paris.   (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

French President Emmanuel Macron called for calm Wednesday while denouncing the "inexplicable and inexcusable" killing of a teenager during a traffic stop in a Paris suburb. A 17-year-old delivery driver identified as Nael M. was shot Tuesday by an officer who appeared to lie about the circumstances afterward, the Guardian reports. Police initially claimed that the teen tried to drive his car at an officer after he was pulled over for breaking traffic rules. A video on social media authenticated by AFP, however, shows two officers standing by the stationary vehicle, with one of them pointing a gun at the driver. A voice is heard saying, "You are going to get a bullet in the head." The officer then appears to fire at point-blank range as the car drives off.

The car crashed into a post dozens of feet away. Nael died shortly afterward, authorities say. Prosecutors say the officer was detained and could face manslaughter charges. The death of the teen, who was reportedly from a family of Algerian origin, sparked rioting in Nanterre and other Paris suburbs Tuesday night, with dozens of cars set on fire and 31 arrests made, the BBC reports. "Nothing justifies the death of a young man," Macron said Wednesday, adding, "We need calm for justice to be done, we need calm everywhere because we don't want a situation that degenerates."

Police unions criticized Macron's remarks, with one warning against encouraging "anti-cop" hatred. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who called the footage "extremely shocking," said 2,000 riot police would be deployed Wednesday night to maintain order, the AP reports. The killing was also denounced by celebrities and political figures including Green Party leader Marine Tondelier, who said the video showed an "execution." "I heard a policeman lie, his colleague lie, the prosecutor lie, and the media lie," she said, per AFP. "You get the feeling that our police is becoming like America's." (Read more France stories.)

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