A French police officer is being investigated for homicide over the fatal shooting a 17-year-old boy in the Paris suburb of Nanterre after he failed to comply with an order to stop his car, the local prosecutor’s office said.

The officer fired at the boy, who subsequently died from his wounds, the Nanterre prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday. A video shared on social media shows two police officers beside the car, a Mercedes AMG, one of whom shoots as the driver pulls away.

Sporadic clashes broke out between youths and police on Tuesday evening as anger over the death of the teenager grew in the local community. Some groups set alight barricades and garbage bins, smashed up a bus stop and threw firecrackers toward police, who responded with tear gas and dispersion grenades. Nine people were arrested.

After a record 13 deaths from police shootings in France during traffic stops last year, this was the second fatal incident in such circumstances in 2023.

Three people were killed by police gunfire after refusing to comply with a traffic stop in 2021 and two in 2020. A Reuters tally of fatal shootings in 2021 and 2022 shows the majority of victims were black or Arabic origin.

“As a mother from Nanterre, I have a feeling of insecurity for our children,” said Mornia Labssi, a local resident and anti-racism campaigner, who said she had spoken to the victim’s family, which she said was of Algerian origin.

One passenger was taken into police custody but later released. Police were unable to contact another passenger, the prospector’s office said. The driver was “known to the judicial services for having refused to comply with a traffic stop” on a previous occasion, it said.

The Paris police chief, Laurent Nunez, told BFM TV that “this act raises questions for me” and that the justice system would decide whether or not it was appropriate.

The French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, tweeted that the General Inspectorate of the National Police was investigating “to shed light on the circumstances of this drama”.


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