The suburbs of western Paris witnessed last night clashes between the French police and protesters, against the background of the killing of a 17-year-old boy, who was shot by a policeman, claiming that he was driving a car and refused to comply with a traffic checkpoint on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, the French judiciary began an investigation into the circumstances of the accident, and the policeman was placed in pre-trial detention. This raised questions about the extent to which police officers tended to resort to violence.
Protesters set fire to the municipal headquarters of the Val Foret district in Mante-la-Jolie, west of Paris, and skirmishes between police and protesters spread to other areas in the suburbs of western Paris.
Demonstrators also set fires in the streets of Nanterre, burning a car and smashing bus stops, as tensions rose between police and residents.
French authorities said 9 people were arrested as a result of the nightly riot.
The French prosecutor’s office in Nanterre said that what it described as a 17-year-old teenager was driving a rented car early on Tuesday when he was stopped by a police checkpoint for violating traffic laws.
A video clip spread on social media, and verified by the French Press Agency, showed two policemen trying to stop the car, before one of them shot the driver from the window when he tried to drive off.
The car later crashed into a side wall after traveling a short distance forward. Ambulance services attempted to resuscitate the young driver at the scene, but he died shortly thereafter.
The Nanterre prosecutor’s office added that the officer accused of shooting the driver has been detained on charges of murder.
It is noteworthy that the French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, had informed Parliament that the two police officers were being questioned, acknowledging that the video clip published was “very shocking.” He urged residents to “respect the family’s grief and the police’s presumption of innocence,” as he put it.
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