Kate Nicholson, HuffPost, July 4, 2023
A fundraiser for the police officer who shot a 17-year-old in France has received four times the donations sent to the victim’s family.
Nahel M, a teenager of Algerian-Moroccan descent, was shot dead by an officer last Tuesday morning during a traffic stop, prompting nationwide riots and mass arrests.
The policeman in question has been charged with voluntary homicide and remanded in custody, after the prosecutor in charge of the investigation said the “legal conditions for using the weapon” were “not met”.
A week after the violence began, a crowdfunder for the policeman’s family reached 1.4 million euros (£1,198,500), far outstripping the donations sent to Nahel’s family, which were at 352,000 euros (£301,565).
The GoFundMe page was set up by French far-right media personality Jean Messiha who has worked with presidential candidates like Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, and received more than 72,000 private donations.
Messiha tweeted: “This police officer is the victim of a national witch-hunt and it is a disgrace. The fundraising effort… is the symbol of a France that says no (to) this treachery.”
He justified the campaign by saying the family of the officer (known only as Florian M right now) is “in enormous difficulty because the officer is now in prison, his wages have been suspended and he has legal fees to pay”, while alleging his relatives have been been targeted by rioters.
The far-right claim police regularly face violence in low-income suburbs around French cities, but the fundraiser – and its supporters – has been condemned by leftwing politicians.
GoFundMe have refused to take it down, saying the fund did not break any rules as the money will not be going to fund the officer’s legal fees or defence.
The platform told the French magazine Capital: “The money will be directly given to the family, which has been added as a beneficiary.”