(UnitedVoice.com) – On June 28, violent protests erupted in Nanterre, a western Paris suburb, overnight after a police officer shot and killed a teenager during a routine traffic stop the day before. Police officials initially reported that the officer shot the 17-year-old driver of the vehicle, identified only as Nahel M, because the teen was allegedly driving his car toward him in a threatening manner.
However, footage of the incident, authenticated by French media sources, contradicted that claim. The video shows two police officers standing beside a parked car, one pointing a gun at the driver. A voice is heard warning the driver that they were about to “get a bullet in the head.” The threatening officer appeared to fire into the car from point-blank range before it careened forward a few dozen yards before crashing.
Protests spread to neighboring suburbs. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told reporters on Wednesday that 40 cars had been set ablaze, two dozen police officers injured, and 31 people were arrested overnight. Garbage bins were set on fire, a local music school erupted in flames, and various new reports indicated that law enforcement officials had fired tear gas canisters at rioting crowds.
Newsmax reported that a spokesperson for the national police confirmed that several blazes damaged town halls, police stations, learning centers, and other public buildings. Thousands of federal and local police officers were deployed to quell the violence.
In a rare move, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke out against the police, calling the shooting “unforgivable” and inexplicable. “Nothing justifies the death of a young person,” he proclaimed.
Meanwhile, local and national officials are struggling to restore order to the Greater Paris area.
French Officials Struggle To End Riots
On Thursday, prosecutors filed preliminary charges of voluntary homicide against the police officer who shot Nahel, a French citizen of Moroccan and Algerian descent. Officials arrested the officer but hadn’t released any identifying information as of Thursday evening.
The New York Times reported that it’s unclear if the officer’s arrest will calm the mounting tensions between the French public and law enforcement officials.
Local officials in Nanterre and Clamart, a town south of the metro area in the Ile-de-France region, imposed curfews beginning on Thursday and extending through the weekend. Macron also held a meeting on Thursday to coordinate a national response to the situation to end the protests. He told participants that the acts of violence were “totally unjustifiable.”
In the meantime, Interior Minister Darmanin deployed 40,000 police officers Thursday night, roughly 5,000 of them inside the Paris city limits.
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