Angry residents and police clashed for a third night in suburbs north of Paris, leading to 13 arrests following the fatal shooting of a father-of-four by an officer at the weekend, police said Tuesday.
Despite a heavy police presence to prevent further violence, several cars, a dozen bins and an abandoned sports centre were set alight overnight in the low-income Sevran, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Tremblay-en-France suburbs, a police source told AFP.
The unrest began Saturday after a police officer fatally shot the driver of a van that had been reported stolen and was being inspected at a traffic light in Sevran at around lunchtime.
The officer was hospitalised afterwards “in a state of shock,” local prosecutor Eric Mathais said Sunday, while internal police investigators have opened a probe into the incident.
Local people who knew the man named as Jean-Paul told AFP that he had taken a van owned by his employer who owed him wages.
They have also questioned how the officer could justify opening fire when his life was not in danger, which is the only justification for using a weapon under French law.
A protest march by the dead man’s family is expected in the next few days.
Residents in France’s multiracial suburbs often complain about heavy-handed policing methods and violence that have led to a series of scandals in recent years, including the February 2017 arrest of a black man who was allegedly sodomised with a police baton.
Police unions say officers often face hostility and attacks, and are faced with the difficult task of trying to maintain order in impoverished high-rise housing estates that in some cases are centres of drug dealing and other criminality.
The French government began a public consultation in February aimed at devising ways to increase public confidence in the police.