The teenager, of Algerian descent, was shot dead during a traffic stop in the working-class Parisian neighborhood of Nanterre on Tuesday morning.
The police officer who shot said he feared someone could be hit by the car, including him or his colleague, after Nahel ran a red light, Nanterre prosecutor Pascal Prache said in a statement Thursday. Prache said the officer accused of the murder had been charged with a preliminary voluntary manslaughter and was in custody.
The legal team representing the teen’s family has not said whether it believes race was a factor in the shooting, which has sparked tensions between French police and young people living in deprived neighborhoods in the capital’s suburbs and elsewhere. .
Nahel’s mother, identified as Mounia M., told France 5 television earlier this week that she was angry with the accused officer and not with the police in general. “She saw a little Arab-looking boy, he wanted to kill himself,” she said. «A police officer can’t take his gun and shoot our children, take our children’s lives.»
Nahel’s funeral ceremony began on Saturday. It was a private matter; Family and friends viewed the open coffin before taking it to a mosque for a ceremony and then burying it in the city cemetery.
Despite President Emmanuel Macron calling on parents to keep their children at home, street clashes broke out on Friday between young protesters and police.
Nearly 90 arrests were made in Marseille on Friday, according to the Interior Ministry, after Marseille Mayor Benoît Payan called on the government to «immediately send more law enforcement.» Footage from the protests in the southern port city showed people setting fire to barricades, throwing objects at police cars and running from tear gas.
Rifles were looted from a gun store and a man with a hunting rifle was later arrested, police said.
In Vaulx-en-Velin, a suburb of the eastern city of Lyon, three police officers were shot with a pellet gun as authorities reported street fires and looting throughout the city, and an unauthorized protest drew more than 1,000 people. said the Ministry of the Interior. .
Riots were also reported in the South American overseas department of French Guiana, where a 54-year-old man died after being hit by a stray bullet, authorities told the Associated Press.
Marine Le Pen, a figurehead of the French far-right and parliamentary leader of the anti-immigration Rally National party, added to the pressure on the French government by calling for the institution of a «state of emergency» on Friday.
«For several days a state of endemic disorder has been established in the country, the images and echoes of which are chillingly brutal,» he said on Twitter on Friday. «I request the President of the Republic to receive without further delay the parties represented in the National Assembly.»
In France, a state of emergency gives more powers to the police and the military, such as the right to set curfews, limit movement, prevent mass gatherings and conduct house searches at any time without judicial oversight.