Over €1m has been donated to a French police officer who killed a teenager in a ‘scandalous’ fundraiser

More than a million euros (£860,000) has been raised for the family of a French police officer who shot and killed a teenager during a traffic stop, an act that sparked riots across the country. This is far more than a similar campaign for the dead boy’s family.

The online fundraiser, launched by Jean Messiha, an independent right-wing populist and former adviser to Marine Le Pen, has received donations from more than 52,000 people, and a fund set up by the police officer’s colleagues raised around 60,000 euros.

The grandmother of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk said the donations broke her heart. “He took my grandson’s life. This man has to pay the same as everyone else,” Nadia told BFMTV of the officer.

“Jean Messiha is playing with fire,” said MP Eric Bothorel, part of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party. He called the fundraiser “indecent and scandalous.”

Attorney General Eric Dupond-Moretti said the fundraiser “stoked the fires of the riots” and described it as a populist “instrumentalization” of the teen’s death.

In the meantime, a fundraising campaign for the victim’s family has raised more than 200,000 euros from around 100,000 donations.

Nahel, who was of Algerian descent, was shot dead by a police officer in his car during a traffic stop in Paris last Tuesday.

The 38-year-old officer was charged with first degree murder and taken into custody. He claims he had the right to fire his gun to protect himself, a colleague and other road users.

Public prosecutor Pascal Prache came to the conclusion in an initial investigation that “the prerequisites for the legal use of the weapon were not met”.

Thousands of protesters have been arrested since violent clashes first broke out on Tuesday night in and around the Paris suburb of Nanterre, where the teenager was killed.

Protesters walk past a burnt-out rubbish bin during clashes with police in Marseille

(AFP via Getty Images)

The family of the slain teenager has asked for the unrest to be “calmed down” after community-run buildings, including libraries and primary schools, and police stations were attacked and vehicles and buildings were set on fire.

The aunt of the killed teenager told it The Independent: “The family is very much against the violence.

“But I hope that Nahel’s death will spark a change that will result in something like this never happening again.”

Criminal defense attorney Carole-Olivia Monteno called the fundraiser for the officer an “insult” to Nahel’s family. “It only fuels the hatred where there is already too much of it, it’s totally inappropriate and it doesn’t do anything politically,” she said.

La France Insoumise MP Mathilde Panot also wrote: “If you kill a young North African in France in 2023, you can make a lot of money.” Olivier Faure, first secretary of the opposition Socialist Party, called for its closure.

French riot police walk upside down next to a vehicle


It comes after the house of a Paris mayor was searched and set on fire on Sunday while his wife and children slept inside.

Vincent Jeanbrun, who is responsible for the L’Hay-les-Roses area in the southern suburbs, said rockets were thrown as the family fled the burning house in what he described as an “assassination”.

Mr Jeanbrun’s wife, Melanie Nowak, broke her leg trying to escape through rocket fire and one of the couple’s two children was also injured.

Overnight, 297 vehicles and 34 buildings were set on fire across France. About 157 people were arrested, compared to a peak of 3,880 arrests on the fiery night of June 30.

In total, more than 3,000 people have been arrested since Nahel’s death. Hundreds of police officers and firefighters were also injured in the violence, but authorities did not say how many protesters were injured.

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