Statement from France’s Union communiste libertaire, 28th of June, 2023 …
On the night of June 27 to 28, revolts began in the city of Nanterre to denounce a new murder by a policeman.
His name was Nahel, he was 17 years old. Nahel died on June 27, 2023 in his car: he was shot and killed, at close range, by a police officer following a refusal to comply. He was on a bus lane and tried to flee after being threatened with death by the policeman who was already pointing his gun at him.
The police immediately adopted the version that the car was hurtling towards law enforcement officers while the media was quick to report on the victim’s criminal record. However, the video of the scene shows that the police are by the side of the car, initially stopped, and that therefore their life was at no time threatened.
The logic is often the same as these cases repeat themselves: to show that it was a case of a bad person, a “delinquent” or someone not very “socially integrated”. On the one hand, the media transmit this information without verifying it and it is very often lies or exaggerations. On the other hand, and above all, even if it were proven facts, this in no way justifies murder, nor can it serve as mitigating circumstances for the intention to kill. This narrative is only intended to establish and normalise police impunity in cases of racist crimes.
Again and again, without the presence of a video, the words of the victims are worthless. Or more accurately, they are worthless when it comes to a law enforcement officer in the dock, even if it’s a repeated scenario.
This is no less than the thirteenth homicide perpetrated by the police since the beginning of the year, following a refusal to comply. Only five police officers out of the thirteen responsible have been indicted, the others having been released without prosecution so far. This is an exceptional figure, which is not unrelated to the 2017 law modifying the right of police officers to use their weapons.
However, we should not be surprised by a rise in violence, particularly racist violence, since, right up to the heights of the state, terms such as “de-civilisation”, “great replacement” or “wildness” are used when discriminatory laws are passed. or put to the vote. What else can a politics that appropriates the themes of white supremacists lead to?
This state racism finds its culmination in the institutions, in this case, the police. The violence it engenders is permitted and tolerated by the power in place, which hastens to dismiss the far left and the far right back to back, as after the attack on the mayor of Saint-Brévin following the establishment in his town of a Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers.
Let’s face it. If the policeman allowed himself to pull the trigger at close range, it was because he did not think there could be any consequences; it is that according to him, basically, the life of Nahel was worth nothing, in his eyes as in those of society.
Can we still place the responsibility for police killings on individuals only? Was it just a bad cop? No! The rhetorical use of a strict reference to a problem of an individual who has only committed a “blunder” is untenable. It is but the form of a racism that the state pretends not to see, and which in fact authorises killing.
It is more than urgent to bring forward a radical criticism of the national police, a racist and colonial institution, contaminated by the far right, which terrorises a whole part of the population with the greatest impunity.
People who are victims of the racism of the police institution have never ceased to denounce it for years. The denial of their fundamental rights is not conditional on their activism or their opposition to a reform such as that of the pension system; the mere fact of existing confronts them with it. Exiles particularly suffer from this violence, whether in the cemetery that the Mediterranean has become, in Calais, in Mayotte, or in the administrative detention centres where Mohamed, a 59-year-old man, died a month ago after being beaten by the police.
These crimes are part of a long list that has been growing for 40 years, if not more (we remember the mass crimes of October 17, 1961). Many names come to mind: Malik Oussekine, Abdel Benahya, Zied and Bouna, Moshin and Lakhamy, Akim Ajimi, Ali Ziri, Mamadou Marega, Wissam El Yamni, Amine Bentounsi, Angelo Garan, Gaye Camara, Liu Shaoyao, Babacar Gaye, Steve Maya Caniço, Claude Jean-Pierre, and many more… Since the strong protests demanding truth and justice for Adama Traoré against which his family suffered incredible repression for 5 years, and 3 years after the global protests for George Floyd , the only “responses” from the State are pleas of inadmissibility.
In the context of generalised repression that we are experiencing, we believe that the revolts that started in Nanterre are an integral part of the social movement. This is a demand for justice and truth for Nahel and other victims of police crimes, and we join these demands.
Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victims of these police killings.
In the immediate future, we demand justice and truth for Nahel, the repeal of the Global Security and Separatism laws, and the disarmament of the police.
Faced with racism and police violence: popular unity!
We relay here the call of Nahel’s family for a white march tomorrow (June 29) at 2 p.m. in Nanterre.
Union communiste libertaire/Libertarian Communist Union, June 28, 2023.