Kylian Mbappé and other prominent French football stars have voiced their anger after a police officer shot dead a teenage delivery driver on Tuesday, leading to widespread anger that has prompted a state of heightened security.
French-Algerian Nael M., 17, was gunned down at the wheel of a Mercedes in the western suburb of Nanterre, sparking a night of anarchy in the French capital. President Emmanuel Macron described the shooting as ‘inexcusable’.
Officials said 1,200 police were deployed overnight and 2,000 would be out in force Wednesday in the Paris region and around other big cities to ‘maintain order.’
The killing, described by witnesses as ‘an execution’, was captured on video which quickly spread across social media, fuelling anger at the police after they initially tried to claim they opened fire after the driver rammed them with his car. In the clip, the officer is heard telling the teen: ‘I’m going to lodge a bullet in your head.’
‘I hurt for my France,’ Mbappé, who grew up in the Paris suburb of Bondy and who plays for the city’s football club Paris Saint-Germain, wrote Wednesday in a Twitter message accompanied by broken hearts emojis.
‘Unacceptable situation. All my thoughts go to the family and loved ones of Naël, this little angel gone much too soon,’ he added.
Left: A picture of smiling Nael released by his family, along with the words: ‘The love of my life’. Right: A picture published in French media of the victim
Kylian Mbappé (pictured, June 15) and other prominent French football stars have voiced their anger after a 17-year-old delivery driver was shot dead by police in Paris on Tuesday, leading to widespread anger that has prompted a state of heightened security
‘I hurt for my France ,’ Mbappé, who grew up in the Paris suburb of Bondy, wrote Wednesday in a Twitter message accompanied by broken hearts emojis (pictured)
Mike Maignan (left) and Jules Koundé (right) joined their France teammate Kylian Mbappe in speaking out over the shooting of 17-year-old Nael M. on Tuesday
Firefighters extinguish a burning vehicle destroyed by protesters in Nanterre, June 27
A burnt out car is seen on the streets of Nanterre, June 28
Mike 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.
Maignan’s France teammate Jules Koundé criticised the media coverage of the teenager’s death in France.
‘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?’ he added.
The death prompted nationwide concern and triggered unrest in multiple towns.
‘We have an adolescent that was killed, it is unexplainable and inexcusable,’ President Macron told reporters in Marseille. ‘Nothing justifies the death of a young man,’ he said, before calling for the judiciary to do its work.
Youths poured onto the streets yesterday, setting fire to bins and hurling fireworks at police. As night fell, cars and buildings were torched and the violence spread to other suburbs across the city. The police officer who shot the boy was last night in custody, and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin appealed for calm.
Darmanin said 31 people were arrested, 25 police officers injured and 40 cars burned in overnight disturbances.
He told the National Assembly in Paris that the images posted on social media were ‘extremely shocking and worrying,’ and urged people to ‘respect the grief of the family and the presumption of innocence of the police’.
The shooting happened close to the Nanterre-Prefecture RER train station, near Nelson-Mandela Square, behind La Défense business district.
Firefighters work to put out a burning car on the sidelines of a demonstration in Nanterre
Disorder broke out this evening after French police killed a teenager who refused to stop for a traffic check in the city
Youths started fires throughout Nanterre this evening in protest at the shooting of 17-year-old Nael
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a blaze in Nanterre, on the western outskirts of Paris
Police in riot gear stand guard during last night’s riot in Nanterre, Paris, which saw nine people arrested
Firefighters work to put out burning street furniture after youths took to the street in anger over the killing of 17-year-old Nael
Fireworks were set off in Nanterre this evening, with claims that some were pelted at police officers
Video footage shows fireworks being thrown by a throng of youths in Paris tonight, with claims that several were aimed at police officers
‘There are mobs setting fire to cars and shooting firework rockets at officers,’ said a Paris police spokesman
Joules Kounde (left), Mike Maignan (second-right) and Kylian Mbappe (right) are seen playing for the French national football team on June 19. All three have spoken out after a 17-year-old French-Algerian was shot dead by a police officer on Tuesday
A verified video of the shooting shows an armed traffic officer pointing his service pistol into the yellow hired Mercedes AMG and saying: ‘I’m going to lodge a bullet in your head’. There is then a bang and the car lurches forward, before Nael dies at the scene of the shooting, which happened at about 8.30am.
The victim was confirmed dead soon after 9am. There were two other unidentified people in the vehicle at the time.
Prosecutors confirmed that the unnamed officer responsible for the shooting was being investigated for ‘murder’.
Officers claimed the teenager had been driving the car erratically, but questions have been raised over the version of events presented by the officers involved.
‘At first police said the teenager had tried to run them over, but they changed their tune when the video appeared,’ said an investigating source.
As the violence intensified, police reported nine arrests in Nanterre by 10pm.
‘There are mobs setting fire to cars and shooting firework rockets at officers,’ said a Paris police spokesman. ‘Nine people are in custody, mainly for public order offences.’
Local residents held a protest outside the police headquarters. Some groups set alight barricades and rubbish bins, smashed up a bus stop and threw firecrackers toward police, who responded with tear gas and dispersion grenades, according to videos broadcast on local media.
The killing was videoed in Nanterre on Tuesday after the youth – who is from an Algerian background – allegedly broke traffic rules
The crashed vehicle hit a signpost and railings at a junction shortly after a shot was allegedly fired at the driver
Paramedics tried in vain to save the 17-year-old driver, later identified as Nael, 17,
Dashcam footage from another motorist showed Nael’s vehicle after it crashed. The victim was confirmed dead soon after 9am. There were two other unidentified people in the vehicle
Nael’s heartbroken mother, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I lost a 17-year-old, I was alone with him, and they took my baby away from me.
‘He was still a child, he needed his mother.’
Nael is currently being referred to by the first initial of his surname.
His grandmother, who also remained unidentified, said: ‘I will never forgive them.
‘My grandson died, they killed my grandson. We are not happy at all, I am against the government. They killed my grandson, now I don’t care about anyone, they took my grandson from me, I will never forgive them in my life, never, never, never.’
Yassine Bouzrou, lawyer for Nael’s family, said the video ‘clearly showed a policeman killing a young man in cold blood.’
Mr Bouzrou added: ‘This is a long way from any kind of legitimate defence’.
Nanterre mayor Patrick Jarry said he was ‘shocked’ by the video images and passed his ‘sincere condolences to the boy’s mother’.
The IGPN national police inspectorate has opened an investigation into possible intentional killing by a person holding a position of public authority.
Firefighters extinguish a burning vehicle destroyed by protesters in Nanterre on June 27
A firefighter walks past a smouldering vehicle destroyed by protesters in Nanterre
Nanterre mayor Patrick Jarry said he was ‘shocked’ by the video images and passed his ‘sincere condolences to the boy’s mother’
The shooting has prompted expressions of shock and questions over the readiness of security forces to pull the trigger
One car was set alight as dozens of youths took to the streets of Nanterre and rallied against police
Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said the action of the officer ‘raises questions’, while claiming that the officer may have ‘felt threatened’
Vehicles and rubbish bins were set alight in Paris this morning as the violence continued
Youths run wild in a Paris suburb tonight amid widespread anger over the death of 17-year-old Nael
Rioting broke out on the streets of Paris after a policeman was accused of executing a teenager in cold blood
A separate probe is being carried out by regional police into the driver’s failure to halt and alleged attempt to kill a person holding a position of public authority.
Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said the action of the officer ‘raises questions’, while claiming that the officer may have ‘felt threatened.’
The family’s lawyer Yassine Bouzrou told the same channel that while all parties needed to wait for the result of the investigation the images ‘clearly showed a policeman killing a young man in cold blood.’
‘This is a long way from any kind of legitimate defence’ he said, adding that the family had filed a complaint, accusing police of ‘lying’ by initially claiming the car had tried to run down the officers.
‘It’s so sad, he was so young,’ said Samia Bough, 62, the teenager’s former neighbour, who came to lay a bouquet of yellow roses at the scene.
In 2022, a record 13 deaths were recorded after refusals to stop for traffic controls. Five police officers have been charged in these cases.
Pictures and video purporting to show the killing have been widely shared on social media, prompting anger from teenagers who took to the streets tonight
The yellow car moved a short distance after a shot was fired into it in the Parisian suburb
Authorities and police unions blame the 2022 figures on more dangerous driving behaviour, but researchers also point to a 2017 law modifying the conditions of the use of their weapon by the police.
Two weeks ago, a 19-year-old was killed by a police officer he had injured in the legs with his car in the western town of Angouleme.
The Left reacted with anger, saying police had no right to kill people simply because they refused to stop.
‘Yes, a refusal to stop is against the law. But death is not one of the sanctions provided for by the penal code,’ tweeted the coordinator of the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) party, Manuel Bompard.
‘A refusal to stop does not provide a licence to kill,’ said Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure.