Paris officer charged over fatal election night shooting

A French policeman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after shooting dead a driver and passenger on the Pont-Neuf in the centre of Paris, hours after Emmanuel Macron celebrated re-election nearby, a judicial source said.

Paris officer charged over fatal election night shooting
The shooting happened on the Pont-Neuf in the cente of Paris. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

The 24-year-old officer fired his assault rifle at the car after it failed to stop for a police check on the picturesque Pont Neuf bridge, later claiming that he acted in self-defence.

Two of the occupants of the car – including the driver – died at the scene, while a third person was injured.

The officer was immediately taken in for questioning by the police’s internal investigations agency, and prosecutors determined it was more likely that the officer had responded with excessive force.

Around a dozen rounds were fired, with “five or six shots hitting the occupants,” according to a police report of the incident seen by AFP.

The officer went before a judge who decided late on Wednesday to charge him with involuntary manslaughter for the death of the driver, the legal source said.

Lesser charges of “wilful violence by a person in authority” were issued over the death of the front-seat passenger, and the injury of a person in the back seat.

He was ordered to turn in his gun and prohibited from any police duties involving contact with the public.

The decision was slammed as “unacceptable” by the right-leaning Alliance police officers’ union, which called for a demonstration to defend “the presumption of legitimate defence” in front of the historic Paris courthouse on Monday.

The police report said the car was parked the wrong way with its hazard lights flashing on the banks of the Seine, prompting the five-person foot patrol to investigate, according to the police report.

When confronted, the driver suddenly sped off towards one officer who managed to jump out of the way.

The two occupants who were killed had extensive criminal records, including for drug charges.

While police in France went unarmed while on routine patrols for years, authorities began issuing assault rifles after the mass jihadist terror killing in Paris on November 13th, 2015, which were followed by a wave of other deadly Islamist attacks.

Security forces have been on high alert since the marathon trial for the November 2015 attacks, France’s worst post-war atrocity, opened in September.

The 20 defendants include Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving attacker, who after years of silence claimed in testimony this month that he had a last-minute change of heart and decided not to set off his explosive vest.

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France charges teen over ‘imminent terror attack’ plot

French authorities have charged an 18-year-old man on suspicion of planning an imminent terror attack with a knife in the name of Islamic State (IS) jihadists, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

France charges teen over 'imminent terror attack' plot

Initial investigations indicated that he planned to carry out a terror attack “in the name of IS, to which he had pledged allegiance,” said the source, who asked not to be named, adding that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The source added that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The man, from a Muslim family, had adopted extremist views and was considered a threat, sparking France’s anti-terror prosecutors office (PNAT) to open an investigation on May 19, a source close to the case said.

Police arrested him on Friday and a video of him swearing allegiance to IS was found in his possession.

The source did not say whom he was planning to target in the attack or in which location.

France saw a wave of jihadist attacks from 2015 that left hundreds dead and pushed the country to its highest level of security alert.

There has been no repeat of a mass atrocity in the last years, but there have been several deadly attacks carried out by lone individuals

More to follow