Kylian Mbappe and other prominent France internationals have expressed their indignation after the death of a 17-year-old delivery driver who was shot and killed during a police check in a Paris suburb.
The killing of the teenager, identified as Naël M., prompted nationwide concern and widespread messages of indignation and condolences, and French president Emmanuel Macron called the young man’s death “inexplicable and inexcusable.”
It also triggered unrest in multiple towns around Paris. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said 31 people were arrested, 25 police officers injured and 40 cars burned in overnight unrest.
“I hurt for my France,” Mbappe, who grew up in the Paris suburb of Bondy, wrote Wednesday in a Twitter message accompanied by broken heart emoticons.
“Unacceptable situation. All my thoughts go to the family and loved ones of Naël, this little angel gone much too soon.”
The tensions focused around the suburban area of Nanterre, where lawyers say the teenager was killed Tuesday during a traffic check.
The police officer suspected of firing on him was detained and faces potential manslaughter charges, according to the Nanterre prosecutor’s office.
The Nanterre neighborhood where Naël lived remained on edge Wednesday morning, with police on guard around the regional administration and burned car wreckage and overturned garbage bins still visible in some areas. Bouquets of orange and yellow roses were tied to the post where the car crashed after the shooting, on Nanterre’s Nelson Mandela Square.
Naël’s mother appealed online for a silent march on Thursday in her son’s honour, near the scene of his death.
Mike Maignan, another French international player, tweeted about the sense of injustice he felt.
“A bullet in the head…It’s always for the same people that being in the wrong leads to death,” he wrote. Maignan’s France teammate Jules Kounde criticised the media coverage of the teenager’s death.
“As if this latest police blunder wasn’t enough, the 24-hour news channels are taking advantage of it by making a big fuss,” he wrote. “The ‘journalists’ ask ‘questions’ with the sole aim of distorting the truth, criminalising the victim and finding extenuating circumstances where none exist.”