Paris, Jun 28 (EFE).- French police arrested 24 people overnight during riots that gripped Paris after a 17 year old was shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop, authorities reported on Wednesday.
Protests in response to the incident broke out in Nanterre — where the teenager was shot Tuesday morning after failing to stop his car when ordered to do so by police officers — and other cities on the fringes of the French capital, police reported.
Paris authorities responded to the unrest and deployed 2,000 police officers and gendarmes in the city as rioters set fire to around 40 vehicles, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told the BFMTV channel.
Paris police chief Laurent Núñez, who spoke to the same television station, added that the officers were deployed to prevent looting of shops and public spaces and that the operation would last “as long as necessary.”
The prefect said that 24 members of the security forces had been slightly injured in the clashes.
Núñez acknowledged that Paris authorities were bracing for riots after footage started circulating on social media of the 17 year old, named as Naël M, being fatally shot by a traffic police officer.
In the video, one of the officers — a 38-year-old brigadier who has since been arrested on homicide charges — can be seen pointing his gun at the teenage driver through the window while the other officer speaks to him on the same side of the car.
A shot can be heard as the car starts to accelerate but soon crashes to a halt.
The police officers involved initially said they shot at the teenager because they were in danger but the footage suggests otherwise.
Darmanin described the images as “extremely shocking” and said two investigations had been launched, one relating to the homicide committed by the police officer and another that would probe Naël M’s attempts to flee a police stop.
The latter has sparked the outrage of the teenager’s family who, via lawyer Jennifer Cambla, said that in France a dead person cannot be judged.
Cambla told France Info radio station that the family was filing a complaint against the police for lying in their initial statement where they claimed the car was trying to run them over.
“The policeman’s gesture is absolutely illegitimate and absolutely not part of self-defense, since it is clear that the policeman was near a stationary vehicle,” the lawyer said. “Feeling threatened doesn’t justify shooting a bullet in someone’s chest.”
The incident has sparked the anger of many members of the opposition with left wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon saying “no officer has the right to kill unless in self-defense.”
“This uncontrolled police force discredits the authority of the state. It needs to be completely overhauled,” he tweeted.
French soccer star Kylian Mbappé also took to Twitter to denounce the killing.
“I feel bad for my France. An unacceptable situation. All my thoughts go out to Naël’s family and loved ones, this little angel who left far too soon,” the soccer player said. EFE