PARIS (AP) — A homicide investigation has been launched into the fatal shooting of a driver by a police officer in the French city of Nice after he failed to obey an order to stop, the southern city’s prosecutor said Friday.
A video circulating on social media shows a police officer pointing his gun at the driver’s window as the vehicle is reversing in front of a damaged police cruiser. The officer fires just after the driver appears to stop the car.
The shooting is the latest in a string of similar incidents across France in recent months that have raised questions about the use of deadly force by police.
Nice prosecutor Xavier Bonhomme said in a statement the 23-year-old police officer – now in police custody following Wednesday’s incident – said he shot at the driver because of the “immediate threat” he posed to him and his colleague.
Police and judicial authorities said the 24-year-old driver refused to obey an order to stop after officers noticed that he was driving dangerously. At some point, the car turned back and rammed into the police car.
Bonhomme said the man was driving a stolen car and had previously been convicted on a number of charges, including driving without a license and theft.
In another incident Wednesday in the western city of Rennes, a 22-year-old woman was killed after police opened fire on a car she was a passenger in during an anti-drug operation. The driver of the car was wounded.
Earlier this year, a French police officer was charged with involuntary manslaughter after fatally shooting two men in a car as they sought to evade a police check on the Pont-Neuf bridge in central Paris, on the night of French President Emmanuel Macron’s reelection.