Macron says police killing of teenager ‘inexcusable’ after Paris suburb riots


PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday described the shooting dead of a 17-year-old by police during a traffic stop near Paris as “inexcusable”, in rare criticism of law enforcement hours after the incident triggered riots.

A police officer is being investigated for voluntary homicide for shooting the youth, who prosecutors say failed to comply with an order to stop his car early on Monday.

The interior ministry called for calm after at least 31 were arrested in overnight riots, mainly in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, where the victim lived, with youths burning cars and shooting fireworks at police, who sprayed people with tear gas.

“We have an adolescent that was killed, it is unexplainable and inexcusable,” Mr Macron told reporters in Marseille.

“Nothing justifies the death of a young man,” he said, before calling for the judiciary to do its work.

A video shared on social media, verified by Reuters, shows two police officers beside the car, a Mercedes AMG, with one shooting at the driver as the car pulled away. He subsequently died from his wounds, the local prosecutor said.

Paris St-Germain footballer Kylian Mpabbe in a tweet about the shooting said: “I’m hurting for my France.”

The victim came from an Algerian family and his first name was Nahel, a neighbour and acquaintance of the family said.

In a video shared on TikTok, a woman identified as the victim’s mother called for a memorial march in Nanterre on Thursday. “Everyone come, we will do a revolt for my son,” she said.

Tuesday’s killing was just the second fatal shooting during traffic stops in France so far in 2023, down from a record 13 last year, according to a Reuters tally based on police and prosecutor reports and documents from lawyers.