'Scandalous' fundraiser for French policeman who killed teenager raises €1.6m

'Scandalous' fundraiser for French policeman who killed teenager raises €1.6m
The fundraiser, which gained over 75 thousand donations, has sparked widespread criticism in France.
2 min read
05 July, 2023
Jean Messiha, who started the fundraiser, has worked with both the far-right National Rally and far-right Reconquest [Getty]

An "indecent and scandalous" fundraiser for the police officer who killed 17-year-old Nahel M. in Paris last week has received over €1.6 million through over 75 thousand donations, sparking widespread outrage and criticism.

It eclipsed the fundraiser for Nahel's mother, which collected just over €400,000 in donations.

The grandmother of the French Algerian teenager who was killed last week said she was "heartbroken" by the fundraiser for the officer that "took the life of my grandson".

The fundraising effort on behalf of the officer, who is in custody charged with voluntary homicide, was launched on the GoFundMe platform by far-right media personality Jean Messiha, who received more than 75,000 private donations.

Speaking on the current affairs show 'Les Grandes Gueules', Messiha defended the fundraiser, stating that “it’s an outpouring of generosity for a grieving family” and that “silent France supports the police”.

However, during the same show with Messiha, Kaouther Ben Mohamed, a columnist on the show, slated Messiha, calling the fundraiser “a disgrace for France”.

Mohammed was among many in France who criticised Messina’s fundraiser, with French MEP Manon Aubry of the left-wing La France Insoumise calling for the fundraiser to be taken down.

Renaissance MP Eric Bothorel argued Messiha was blowing the embers of a fire and called the fundraiser “indecent and scandalous”.

Messiha previously stood as a parliamentary candidate in 2017 for the far-right National Front under Marie Le Pen, now known as National Rally, and was spokesperson for far-right politician Eric Zemmour and his party Reconquest during the 2022 presidential election.

The police officer in detention also faced charges of making false statements, claiming that Nahel "drove at him".

A video of the incident showed the officer with his weapon drawn next to Nahel, shooting him as the teenager drove off. He was initially stopped for allegedly driving without a license plate.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne criticised the police conduct during the stop and search, saying that it “was obviously not in line with the rules of engagement for police”.

Nationwide protests were ongoing across France since the shooting that occurred last Tuesday, with as many as 3,200 people arrested and 45,000 police and gendarmes deployed nationwide through the weekend.