France shooting: Who was Nahel M, shot by French police in Nanterre?

The murder of Nahel M, 17, has sparked unrest in French towns as well as in Nanterre, the town where he was raised to the west of Paris.

He was an only child who was raised by his mother. He played rugby league and worked as a delivery driver for takeout.

He was noted as having a disorganised education. He had enrolled in a college in Suresnes, close to his home, to pursue an electrical engineering degree.

Nahel, an Algerian-born man, was well-liked in Nanterre, where he resided with his mother Mounia and whom he had reportedly never met.

He had a dismal track record of attending college. Although Nahel had previously been into difficulty and was well-known to the police, family lawyers emphasized that he had no criminal history.

Who was Nahel M, shot by French police in Nanterre?

Before she left for work, he gave his mother a hearty kiss and said, “I love you, Mum.”

He was fatally shot in the chest, point-blank, while operating a Mercedes vehicle on Tuesday just after nine in the morning for swerving during a police traffic check. He was too young (17) to receive a license.

His mother questioned, “What am I going to do now?” She said, “I gave everything to him. “I only have one child; I don’t have ten.” He was both my best friend and my life.

He was described as a “kind, good boy” by his grandma.

Leader of the Socialist Party Olivier Faure said, “A refusal to stop doesn’t give you a license to kill.” “All the Republic’s children have a right to justice.”

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Nahel has been a member of the Pirates of Nanterre rugby team for the previous three years. He had participated in an integrating programme for teens who were having academic difficulties, which was run by the organisation Ovale Citoyen.

Nahel was training to become an electrician as part of a project designed to place residents in underserved communities in apprenticeships.

One of the grownups in the area who knew him best was Jeff Puech, the president of Ovale Citoyen. He mentioned a “kid who used rugby to get by” and mentioned seeing him just a few days prior.

Le Parisien quoted Mr. Puech as saying, “He was someone who had the will to fit in socially and professionally, not some kid who dealt drugs or got a kick out of juvenile crime.”

He commended the adolescent’s “exemplary attitude,” which contrasted sharply with the social media character assassination he denounced.

Before they moved to the Pablo Picasso residence, he had gotten to know Nahel while he lived with his mother in the Nanterre Vieux-Pont neighbourhood.

Marouane, an ambulance driver, attacked a police officer shortly after the boy died. Marouane later claimed that he knew the boy as well as if he were his younger brother. He had witnessed him develop into a helpful, nice child. He told reporters, “He never lifted a hand on anyone, and he was never violent.

His mother thinks the policeman who killed him “saw an Arab face, a little kid, and wanted to take his life”. She stated to France 5 TV that she did not hold the police responsible for the shooting, only the individual who fired the shot: “I have friends who are officers – they’re with me wholeheartedly.”

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A banner that was flown over the Paris ring road in front of the Parc des Princes stadium said, “May Allah grant him mercy.”

Flowers are seen at the location in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, where Nahel, a 17-year-old girl, was killed by a French police officer during a traffic check, on June 29, 2023.

“Police violence happens every day, especially if you’re Arab or black,” claimed one young guy in another French city who was demanding justice for Nahel.

Yassine Bouzrou, the family’s attorney, argued that this was not a case of racism, but rather of justice.

According to him, France has a legal and judicial system that protects police officers and fosters an atmosphere of impunity.

Since 2021, Nahel has been the target of up to five police inspections for refusing to comply with a stop order, or a refus d’obtempérer.

Police pulled him down as he was driving a Mercedes with Polish license plates, carrying two passengers, and being unlicensed.

He was apparently detained just last weekend for defying orders and was scheduled to testify before a juvenile court in September.

His name was listed on a Taj, a police file that was used by the authorities for many different investigations.

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A judge ordered a “disciplinary measure” in September of last year. He frequently got into auto-related mischief by driving without a licence or insurance and by using fake licence plates.

However, according to family attorney Jennifer Cambla, Nahel had no prior convictions and no criminal history. Because he had never been prosecuted for any of the charges included in his police file, she told French television that being known to police was not the same as having a criminal record.

“I think it’s pretty rare that a young person hasn’t been stopped by police or hasn’t been in custody,” Ms. Cambla said of this kind of suburb.

Many people in France are reminded of the 2005 events by the protests that his murder has sparked. At the time, two adolescents named Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré were electrocuted after running from the police following a football game in the Paris district of Clichy-sous-Bois.

“It could have been me, it could have been my little brother,” a Clichy youngster named Mohammed told the French website Mediapart.

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