French President Emmanuel Macron quickly and vehemently expressed his support for the family of Nahel M, 17, calling the police shooting of him "inexplicable and inexcusable.".
After failing to stop when told to do so by traffic police, the teenager was shot in his car in the Paris area.
An officer can be seen pointing a gun at the car's driver in social media video of the incident. The driver tries to drive away, and the officer then appears to shoot at point-blank range.
"Shocking images showing a police intervention manifestly in contravention of the rules," Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne said of the video of his murder.
Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, added that if the "content of the video is confirmed, there is no way that the act which we see there can be justified. ".
It appears that the government has made a concerted effort to spread a message of conciliation and pacification.
Police unions are not pleased.
Alliance Police Union stated in a statement that it was "difficult to believe that the president, contrary to his past statements of support for the police...should so flout the separation of powers...as to condemn our colleagues before justice has had the chance to speak.".
For police representatives, there is a clear obligation for all parties to reserve judgment until all of the details of the case have been clarified. They assert that the police fall under the presumption of innocence as well.
French governments are typically eager to uphold this principle. .
There are two explanations for why they are so quick to speak up now.
The first is that the incident occurred in the modern era of social media and real-time filming. Given the stark images, it's difficult to avoid drawing the conclusion that the police overreacted. The majority of the population is speaking, and the government could hardly ignore that.
And this is not a one-off occurrence. No one contests the seriousness of the offense or the fact that it occurs far too frequently of failing to stop at a traffic signal. However, French police shot and killed occupants of cars in such circumstances on 13 separate occasions last year.
That ominously hints that there is a problem.
However, wise counselors would undoubtedly continue to urge caution. We don't know what led up to the shooting or what happened during the altercation. The police will also be able to present their perspective.
Fear is the second factor. There is apprehension that the unrest on Tuesday night may only be the beginning and that future long, hot summer nights will be ideal for riots in the suburbs.
Words have the power to both calm and inflame, as President Macron is aware.
Everyone is concerned about the possibility of a repeat of the rioting that erupted for weeks in November 2005 after a tragic incident involving two teenagers who died while fleeing from the police and seeking refuge in an electricity sub-station.
The disgust felt at the time was a contributing factor. banlieues. (suburbs) in the direction of interior minister and potential president Nicolas Sarkozy.
In the high-immigration area, Mr. Sarkozy had infuriated many. cités. By promising to remove criminal elements with a Kärcher power hose, (estates) shocked the political left. .
Prior to the riots, he had also called a rowdy reception committee in a banlieue in response to their behavior. racaille. – riffraff.
In the weeks that followed, rioters used the "lack of respect" shown to them by the minister in charge of maintaining public order as an excuse for setting fire to cars and government structures.
The yellow-vest protests and more recent unrest over pension reforms have both contributed to the fair share of rage on the streets during the Macron presidency.
Making sure 2005 doesn't happen again is the government's top priority right now. The president and the ministers have chosen their words carefully because they are important.