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GoFundMe refuses to cancel fundraiser for police officer charged with shooting teenager Nahel M

Riot police officers take position during a protest in Paris, France, Tuesday, June 6, 2023.
Riot police officers take position during a protest in Paris, France, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Copyright Michel Euler/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Michel Euler/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Scott Reid
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More than one million euros have been donated for the police officer, who has been charged with homicide over the shooting of a 17-year-old boy.

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GoFundMe has refused to take down an online crowdfunder for the police officer charged with killing a teenager during a traffic stop in Nanterre, near Paris. 

The fundraiser, set up by Jean Messiha, a former advisor to far-right politician Marine Le Pen, has raised over a million euro so far.

The GoFundMe description says the fund is there to provide "support for the family".

Seventeen-year-old Nahel M was shot at point-blank range last Tuesday as he drove off and crashed soon afterwards. 

The incident, which sparked days of rioting, has raised concerns about racism and police conduct inside the country, with large crowds turning out for his funeral. 

"Currently, this fundraiser is within terms as the page states that the funds are going to support the family in question," a GoFundMe spokesperson sent in a statement sent to Euronews.

"They have been added as the beneficiary, the money will flow directly to them," they added. 

GoFundMe's terms and conditions prohibit "the legal defence of alleged financial and violent crimes" and hate speech.

The French Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, expressed reservations over the fundraiser, but said the government would not step in. 

"The fact that it was indeed someone close to the far right who launched this fundraising campaign undoubtedly does not contribute to appeasement", said the Prime Minister as she left a meeting with all the political groups to discuss the tragedy and the riots that followed.

She added that it would be up to the courts to rule "if necessary" on the legality of this fund, but that "it is not the government that can decide whether or not (it) exists".

The fundraiser provoked outrage from politicians when it was discovered.

At the weekend, Eric Bothorel, from the En Marche party of President Emmanuel Macron, wrote on Twitter: “Jean Messiha blows on the embers. It is a generator of riots. The pot of several hundred thousand euros for the police officer indicted in the homicide of young Nahel is indecent and scandalous.”

Olivier Faure, head of the Socialist Party, called on GoFundMe to close the fundraiser, accusing the platform of “hosting a pot of shame”.

Another politician accused GoFundMe of hypocrisy in keeping the fundraiser open. 

Back in 2019, a fund to raise money for a former boxer who was filmed punching police officers during anti-government demonstrations was quickly closed down. 

Left-wing politician David Guiraud wrote on Twitter: “The assumed message is kill Arabs, and you will become millionaires, and the government watches this horror pass without saying anything when it had closed the yellow vest pot in two days who hit a policeman. Repugnant.”

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