By Charlie Kimber in Lyon
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French police plot to exonerate cop who murdered teenager Nahel

‘If they don’t convict the police officer, the place will go up’ says Omar in Lyon
Issue 2862
A picture of the French police executing Nahel

The French police murdered teenager Nahel M

It’s not just all cops who are enemies of the working class. So are the bodies that are supposed to investigate them. An agency stuffed with serving or retired French police officers is opening the door to exonerating the cop who executed Nahel M—despite a video that showed what happened.

The French IPGN is the equivalent of Britain’s tame Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The IPGN is even more overt in its role to camouflage police crimes and make sure cops do not face justice.

The police shot teenager Nahel in Nanterre on the outskirts of Paris on Tuesday of last week. In a video, posted on Twitter, one cop points his gun at the driver. As the car moves away he shoots Nahel in the heart. Before the killer shot, the police gunman can be heard saying, “I’m going to put a bullet in your head.” A second officer says, “Shoot him.”

But according to a leak to a journalist, the IPGN is hearing a different exchange. It is apparently considering that the second cop said, “Hands behind your head”—rather than “Shoot him”—and that nobody said, “I’m going to put a bullet in your head.”

This doesn’t just go against the video. It also contradicts a friend of Nahel who was in the vehicle. He told BFMTV television that a cop had said, “Cut the engine or I’ll shoot you,” and then, “Stay there or I’ll put a bullet in your head.”

Omar, who lives in Lyon’s poor suburb of Venissieux, told Socialist Worker, “If they don’t convict the police officer there will be a response that makes the last week seem like nothing.

“I really think the place would go up. It’s an insult even to hear there is doubt about the killing. Do they think we do not have ears and brains? The riots have been a bit of revenge for Nahel’s murder, but that would mean nothing if his killer is freed.

“The message you get from some of the older people in Venissieux, some who are seen as community leaders, is that we must let the process go on. They say that it will give us what we want. I never believed that.

“The justice system is a system of injustice. It favours the white rich and mutilates the lives of the Arab and the black person. Even if they do eventually have to send this police officer to jail, I bet he will be out early. It won’t be like when a man with a family from north Africa is found guilty.”

He added, “The riots will have scared president Macron. He may have to make it seem there is a fair process, but only because we have burnt police stations and banks and fought his cops in the street. We need more of the revolt.”

But sections of the right don’t want to make any concessions at all to the rioters. A crowdfunding site for the policeman who executed Nahel had raised over £1.2 million by Tuesday afternoon.

Jean Messiha launched it. He is a former leading figure in Marine Le Pen’s fascist National Rally and then a spokesperson for the far right Islamophobe Eric Zemmour.

Giving to such a fund is a way to congratulate the murderer. Yet this does not upset the authorities. It’s the same authorities which blocked a similar collection in 2019 to support the Yellow Vest protester Christophe Dettinger—and had the donors investigated by the police.

  • Omar is a pseudonym

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