Police Officer Arrested Over Shooting That Sparked French Riots

A police officer who shot and killed a man during a stop-and-search operation in Nantes, sparking two nights of rioting and violence, has been taken into custody for questioning.

Investigators are looking into whether the officer should be charged with “violence by a person of authority leading to manslaughter”.

Announcing the arrest on Thursday, the Nantes prosecutor’s office said: “Only at the end of this questioning will the prosecutor be in a position to announce his decision regarding what happens next in this affair.”

On Thursday evening several hundred people took part in a silent march in memory of the dead man, Aboubakar Fofana.

His family, who did not take part in the march, have appealed for calm after clashes between protesters and police on Wednesday night. Dozens of vehicles and buildings – including shops, a police station, community centre and a library – were torched. Protesters shouted “killers, killers, shame on you” and others threw stones from apartment windows. Police responded with teargas.

The violence was worst in areas routinely described by French authorities as “sensitive” – often run-down high-rise social housing projects where unemployment, poverty and crime are high.

The prime minister, Édouard Philippe, visited Nantes on Thursday and promised “the fullest transparency” over the death. He expressed his support for police and firefighters dealing with the protests and “firm condemnation” of the rioters.

“When firefighters come to save a library or evacuate someone who is ill and [they] are stoned, nobody understands,” he said.

The government promised police reinforcements and said the violence and vandalism would not be tolerated.

Fofana was allegedly under surveillance in a drug-trafficking investigation when the rented Nissan he was driving was stopped by police in the Breil district at around 8.30pm on Tuesday. He was not carrying identity papers, as required in France, and police tried to arrest him. Le Monde reported that Fofana was wanted under a 2017 arrest warrant for organised robberies.

Police said he was hit in the neck by a single bullet after he reversed his car into one of the officers. However, a number of witnesses contested the police claims, saying the car was stationary when officers fired and that no officer was injured.

A woman who filmed the incident, who did not wish to give her name, told French journalists: “There were no police behind the car. He didn’t hit anyone. There was only the one gunshot.”

The incident has strained tense relations between youths and police in France’s urban housing estates. On Wednesday night, protesters set fire to a community centre on the Malakoff estate, destroying more than 10,000 books and children’s games.

The town hall has vowed to rebuild the centre, but Marie-Gaby, a local resident, said people were devastated. “They’ve attacked a symbol of the area. Apart from the library, this was a wonderful gathering place for children and the elderly. There were activities, association meetings, and things offered to youngsters who couldn’t go on holiday,” she told 20 Minutes.

Another resident, who was close to tears, said: “In two nights they’ve destroyed everything built in 20 years, but we won’t give up.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/05/security-forces-dispatched-to-nantes-after-police-shooting-sparks-violence

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5463 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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