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Updated Jun 28, 2023, 3:24pm EDT
Europe

Insights: Why Macron condemning fatal police shooting of teen is rare

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The News

After days of nationwide protests, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was “inexplicable and inexcusable” that police fatally shot a 17-year-old during a traffic stop in Paris on Monday.

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Know More

Video of the incident uploaded to social media shows the victim, identified as Nahel M, being shot point blank in his car after he reportedly failed to stop during a traffic check.

Police claimed the officer fired in self-defense after the victim tried running him over, but videos on social media appeared to contradict this claim.

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The teen’s mother later uploaded a TikTok calling on French people to protest against police brutality.

The officer who fired his gun is now under investigation for homicide.

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Insights

  • With a more heavily-armored police force than its European neighbors, it is unsurprising France has more casualties during police interactions, argues Paris journalist Michael Barbero. There is a normalized culture for police to use excessive force against protesters, and the country’s law enforcement has refused to engage in European talks on how to mitigate police brutality. — Foreign Policy
  • Macron’s condemnation of the police is a rare move likely meant to mitigate further demonstrations, writes the BBC’s Hugh Schofield. French institutions tend to uphold a presumption of innocence, but the widely-circulated video is too damning against the police’s narrative.
  • French police have for years denied systemic racism despite investigations and data suggesting otherwise, according to a 2020 Al Jazeera analysis in the wake of the George Floyd protests. The majority of French people of color have reported having a negative interaction with the police, and leaked police communications have revealed officers regularly using racist language and stereotypes. French police have also rallied behind far-right candidates.
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