A year after riots, France continues probe into police shooting of teenager

Investigations into the police shooting of Nahel Merzouk are still ongoing – a year after the teenager was killed during a traffic stop in a Paris suburb. The death set off a week of protests and rioting causing damage to towns across France. People in the suburbs where much of the violence took place say they feel abandoned.

A year ago, on 27 June 2023, 17-year-old Merzouk was shot in the chest at point-blank range in Nanterre by a police officer during a traffic stop – an event that was captured on video, but whose circumstances remain contested.

The officer, Florian M, who was charged with voluntary homicide two days after the shooting and was detained until November says he fired his gun because he feared for his life.

Two investigative magistrates tasked with determining if this was the case have spent months interviewing witnesses and organising crime scene re-enactments.

After one re-enactment in May, Merzouk’s mother’s lawyer said it showed that the police officer was not in danger, whereas a lawyer for the officer said that while his client was not in actual danger of being run over by Merzouk’s car “he could have felt like he could have been”.

Police violence

Investigations are also ongoing into police violence during the protests and riots in the week after, which left two people dead and more than 1,000 wounded. About 2,500 buildings were damaged in 627 cities and towns across France.

Read more on RFI English

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