Ongoing civil unrest in France was brought to the doorstep of a Paris suburb mayor following the police killing of a teenager last week. According to ABC News, as many as 4,500 police have been deployed across the country as riots continue into their sixth day. Authorities have reportedly made more than 1,300 arrests.
Nahel Merzouk, who is of Algerian and Moroccan descent, was shot point blank in the chest when he attempted to flee a traffic stop in Nanterre, the suburb in which he grew up, on Tuesday (June 27). In France, the legal age to obtain a driver’s license to operate a car is 18 years old. Rioters, however, question if race was a factor in his killing, as many claim the teen was not a threat to the police.
Video of Merzouk’s encounter with law enforcement shows him in the driver’s seat with two armed officers at his window. The officer who fired his weapon claimed he did so out of fear that the teen would plow into pedestrians during his attempt to escape. The officer has since been placed on leave, per department protocol, and an investigation into his actions has been launched.
Merzouk was laid to rest on Saturday (July 1) at Mont Valérien after a funeral service was held at a mosque in his hometown. During the early morning hours of Sunday (July 2), L’Hay-les-Roses Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun’s home was set on fire by rioters. His wife and their two children, ages five and seven, were home when the harrowing incident took place. She suffered unspecified injury as she and the children fled through the backyard, Reuters reports.
Jeanbrun was at the city’s town hall, which has remained guarded as rioters have ignited upwards of 2,500 fires nationwide and caused widespread damage to businesses. “Last night, a milestone was reached in horror and ignominy. My home was attacked, and my family was the victim of an assassination attempt,” he tweeted.
View some of the civil unrest and protest of police brutality below.
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