Clive Bull 1am - 4am
'I hurt for my France': Kylian Mbappé and other French footballers slam Paris police for shooting teenager dead
28 June 2023, 15:18 | Updated: 30 June 2023, 06:18
Kylian Mbappé is among several French football stars who have hit out at Paris police after an officer shot dead a teenage delivery driver.
Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappé slammed the "unacceptable situation" after 17-year-old Nael M, who is being referred to by his initial, was shot dead in a routine traffic stop on Tuesday night.
Riots erupted in Paris overnight after the French-Algerian teenager was killed. Footage of the incident went viral with the police officer reportedly telling the youth “I’m going to lodge a bullet in your head.”
The video spread on social media, fuelling fury at police who had claimed they opened fire after the driver tried to ram them with his car.
"I hurt for my France," Mbappé said. "Unacceptable situation. All my thoughts go to the family and loved ones of Naël, this little angel gone much too soon".
Meanwhile his fellow France international Jules Koundé criticised the French media coverage for "distorting the truth".
"As if this latest police blunder wasn't enough, the 24-hour news channels are taking advantage of it by making a big fuss,' Barcelona defender Jules Koundé wrote in a social media post.
"The 'journalists' ask 'questions' with the sole aim of distorting the truth, criminalising the victim and finding extenuating circumstances where none exist. An age-old method for masking the real problem.
Koundé encouraged his compatriots to "turn off the TV and find out what's going on" themselves.
Mike Maignan, a French goalkeeper who plays in Italy for AC Milan, added: "A bullet in the head...It's always for the same people that being in the wrong leads to death."
French president Emmanuel Macron called Nael's killing "unforgiveable".
"Nothing justifies the death of a young person," he told reporters in Marseille, calling for "calm for justice to be done".
"I would like to express the emotion of the entire nation at what has happened and the death of young Nael, and to tell his family of our solidarity and the nation's affection."
"We have a teenager who has been killed. It's inexplicable, unforgivable,"
Nael's mother said that police "took [her] baby". His family have now released a photograph of the 17-year-old, with the accompanying caption: "The love of my life".
Nael's mother, who remains anonymous, added she would "never forgive them" - referring to the police officers who fired the deadly shot.
French prosecutors said the officer shot at the boy and he later died from his injuries, despite efforts from an ambulance crew to resuscitate him.
In a video shared online, the two officers are stood by the car, with one pointing a gun through the window to the front passenger, and when the driver of the car pulls away, he shoots.
Reports claim the officer shouted “I’m going to lodge a bullet in your head” before taking fire.
The lawyer for Nael’s family, Yassine Bouzrou, said the video "clearly showed a policeman killing a young man in cold blood".
The officer has since been arrested and placed in custody.
The news of the teenager’s death sparked outcry in the Parisian suburbs, with riots from local young communities on Tuesday evening. Thousands of police officers were deployed to quell the unrest.
Bins and barricades were set ablaze, firecrackers were thrown at police and officers reacted with dispersion grenades and teargas. Several people were arrested.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin urged those involved to: “Respect the grief of the family and the presumption of innocence of the police.”
It comes after France reported a record number of police shootings related to traffic stops last year.
The death of the 17-year-old is the second time this has happened in 2023 so far.
Mornia Labssi, who said she had spoken to the victim’s family and is an anti-racism campaigner said: “As a mother from Nanterre, I have a feeling of insecurity for our children.”
The IGPN national police inspectorate says it has opened an investigation into a possible “intentional killing by a person holding a position of public authority.”