French prosecutors have opened an investigation into an online collection for a policeman who sparked nationwide riots in June by shooting a teenager dead in a Paris suburb.
Far-right media commentator Jean Messiha launched a campaign on GoFundMe and received pledges of more than €1.6 million ($1.7 million) before it was closed in early July.
A legal complaint alleging fraud, misuse of personal data and Messiha’s involvement in these crimes was filed by the mother of 17-year-old French-Algerian Nahel Merzouk, who was killed in Nanterre on June 27.
A legal investigation by specialised financial crime investigators was under way, the Paris prosecutor told AFP on Wednesday.
“We welcome the speed of the decision by the prosecutor,” said Yassine Bouzrou, the lawyer for Nahel’s family.
Messiha has been contacted for comment.
Riots in France – in pictures
The 38-year-old motorbike traffic officer behind the killing of Nahel has been detained and charged with voluntary manslaughter.
The shooting, at point-blank range, sparked the most intense urban violence in France since 2005 and rekindled complaints about heavy-handed policing and racism in poor areas of the country.
Messiha said the fund, which was intended for the officer’s family, was “a cry from French people to demand order, a cry of love for their security forces”.
Updated: July 19, 2023, 7:57 PM
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