From Macron to Mbappe, France outraged by latest police killing

French footballers and politicians vent after police killed a 17-year-old, known only as ‘Nahel M’.

Local residents look on next to the facade of a burnt-down annex town hall of the Le Val Fouree neighbourhood in Mantes-la-Joli
Cars and buildings were set on fire during protests after the killing of a 17-year-old boy by a police officer [Alain Jocard/AFP]

President Emmanuel Macron has said the fatal shooting of a teenage boy by officers, the latest police killing to shock France and stir protests, was “inexplicable”, as public anger mounts.

The 17-year-old, known as Nahel M, was reportedly driving a rental car in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre early on Tuesday when police pulled him over for breaking several road rules, prosecutors said.

A video circulating on social media shows two police officers trying to stop the vehicle. One of them points his weapon at the driver through the window before firing at close range.

Riots gripped several suburbs of the French capital overnight and further protests are expected on Wednesday, with thousands of extra officers deployed.

After the record 13 police shooting deaths in France during traffic stops last year, the killing of Nahel is the second fatal shooting in such circumstances this year.

Reporting in Nanterre, Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler said there is a sense that the French police have a culture of impunity “and it is not being addressed”.

Here are some of the latest reactions:

French President Emmanuel Macron: ‘Inexplicable and unforgivable’

“A teenager was killed. That is inexplicable and unforgivable,” Macron said during a visit to the Mediterranean city Marseille, saying the case had “moved the entire nation”. He also expressed “respect and affection” for the family of the victim.

Football star Kylian Mbappe: ‘I hurt for my France’

“I hurt for my France. Unacceptable situation. All my thoughts go to the family and loved ones of Nael, this little angel gone much too soon,” Mbappe tweeted. The 24-year-old grew up in the Parisian suburbs, where tensions with police are often fraught.


AC Milan football player Mike Maignan: ‘Always the same people’

Maignan, another French international player, tweeted about the sense of injustice he felt.

“A bullet in the head … It’s always for the same people that being in the wrong leads to death,” he wrote.

La Liga’s Jules Koundé: ‘Journalists distort the truth’

Football player Jules Koundé criticised the media’s coverage of the teenager’s death.

“As if this latest police blunder wasn’t enough, the 24-hour news channels are taking advantage of it by making a big fuss,” he wrote.

“The ‘journalists’ ask ‘questions’ with the sole aim of distorting the truth, criminalising the victim and finding extenuating circumstances where none exist. An age-old method for masking the real problem. Why don’t we turn off the TV and find out what’s going on?”

A vehicle burns, destroyed by protesters in Nanterre, west of Paris
Vehicles were set on fire during protests triggered by the teenager’s death [Zakaria Abdelkafi/AFP]

Far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon: Police force needs to be ‘redesigned’

Melenchon, who is often critical of police brutality, said that “France no longer has the death penalty,” and called for “a complete redesign of the police force”.

Nanterre mayor Patrick Jarry: ‘Worst days in history’

Patrick Jarry, the mayor of Nanterre, said the neighbourhood was living some of its “worst days in history”.

“The youth think they have to vindicate the death of Nahel,” he said. “I call on everyone: Stop this destructive spiral.”

Actor Omar Sy: ‘Justice should honour the child’s memory’

The French actor Omar Sy, famous for his film, The Intouchables, said on Twitter that his thoughts and prayers went out to Nahel’s family.

“May justice worthy of the name honour the memory of this child,” he wrote.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies