French police officer who shot teen accused of homicide
A French police officer who shot dead a teenager during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre earlier this week did not meet the “legal conditions for the usage of firearms,” local prosecutor Pascal Prache has claimed.
The charges against the officer in question have been updated from involuntary to intentional homicide, Prache announced on Thursday, adding that the policeman had been taken into custody.
The Nanterre prosecutor said that the charges against the 17-year-old victim – named as Nahel M. – of refusing to cooperate with police will also be probed.
“The purpose of these two investigations is to look at all the circumstances objectively that led to the death of this young driver,” Prache explained.
The killing of the French-Algerian youth on Tuesday sparked two nights of violent protests in Paris and other major cities, including Toulouse, Lille, Lyon, and Nice. More than 150 people were detained during the unrest, which saw rioters bombard police with fireworks and stones, set fire to cars, and cause other damage.
More trouble is expected on Thursday night, with the French Interior Ministry announcing that 40,000 officers will be deployed to maintain order.
Prache provided a timeline of events that led to the fatal shooting, based on CCTV footage, an amateur video, and statements by police.
He said that two motorcycle officers had taken notice of a yellow Mercedes in which Nahel M. and two passengers were traveling, as the car had been speeding in a bus lane.
Police pursued the vehicle as its driver ignored their demands to pull over. Footage indicates that the driver of the Mercedes committed several traffic violations during the chase, the prosecutor stated.
According to Prache, officers said they drew their weapons and aimed them at the driver after he finally stopped at a red light because they wanted to dissuade him from trying to escape. However, Nahel M. still attempted to drive off, after which one of the officers opened fire.
The bullet hit Nahel M. through the arm and chest, with the teenager losing control of the car and crashing, Prache said.
One of the passengers fled the scene, while the other was briefly detained. Paramedics quickly arrived at the scene but could not save Nahel M., the prosecutor said.