The 17-year-old French-Algerian Nahel M., who was shot and killed by a police officer as the suspect raced away from a traffic stop, reportedly endangered a cyclist and a pedestrian before the shooting. The fact may complicate the subsequent arrest of the decorated police officer in the case, who has been charged with homicide.
The shooting incident has sparked widespread riots across France. As Remix News has reported, the riots are being described as the worst violence France has seen since 2005, with dozens of cars being burned, police stations attacked, and stores looted across France. However, Nahel M. has an extraordinarily long criminal history for a 17-year-old, and in many ways, the officer shooting of Nahel M., who raced away from a traffic stop at high speed, may have prevented Nahel M. from killing someone himself, which he reportedly almost did shortly before being pulled over.
French MEP Gilbert Collard wrote on Twitter, “According to the prosecutor of Nanterre, Nahel made a first refusal to comply before fleeing. During the chase, he endangered a pedestrian and a cyclist (testimonies of the police and video surveillance).”
According to information from Europe 1 news outlets, Nahel M. had 15 mentions in the criminal history file and had been implicated five times for refusals to comply with police officers since 2021, thus all in less than two years.
In addition, police recorded him for crimes including “concealment” and disorderly conduct against police in 2020. In February 2022, he had been implicated in the use of false license plates, concealment and driving without insurance.
In January and March 2023, police arrested him for the consumption and sale of narcotics.
The police officer, on the other hand, is highly decorated, according to Le Figaro newspaper:
Assigned to the public order and traffic department (DOPC) as a biker for the Hauts-de-Seine territorial traffic and road safety company since September 2022, this father has received a series of distinctions during his career in the national police, which began 10 years ago. According to our information, this former soldier received eight letters of congratulations and an internal security medal.
His action during the demonstrations of the yellow vests in 2020, as well as his role in the arrest of an organizer of kidnappings and theft in Val-d’Oise in May 2021, also earned him decorations by the then prefect of police, Didier Lallement, two bronze medals for acts of courage and dedication.
However, before the officer even went to trial, French President Emmanuel Macron called the shooting “inexcusable.”
Some are now comparing the riots that have ensued to the killing of George Floyd, also known for his long and violent criminal history, which included a home invasion where he robbed a Black woman at gunpoint, an act Floyd served five years in prison for.
Over 150 people have been arrested, dozens of officers injured, and multiple buildings and vehicles burned throughout France due to the riots. A number of marches have also been held for Nahel M. despite him nearly killing a cyclist and pedestrian during the police chase.