PARIS, Nov 24, 2006 (AFP) – A French police officer â€” a black man in plain clothes â€” shot dead a Paris-Saint Germain football fan after being turned on by a mob during racist violence that followed the team’s defeat by Israeli side Hapoel Tel-Aviv.
Antoine Granomort, who was in custody Friday morning, fired his handgun into a threatening crowd near the Parc des Princes stadium late Thursday after seeking to defend a French fan of the Israeli club from attack, police and witnesses said.
A 24-year-old man was killed and a 26-year-old who was wounded is in serious condition in hospital, police said.
Five fans were in police custody Friday morning and face possible charges for “racist and anti-Semitic insults”, police said.
“Four young people presumably from the Jewish community were rounded on by a group of supporters of PSG. They decided to separate, and one of them Yanniv Hazout was chased by attackers … The mob grew to some 100 people,” said state prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin.
“A plain clothes officer from the transport police, Antoine Granomort, told Monsieur Hazout to stand behind him and then tried to keep the crowd away using his tear-gas canister.
“The crowd hurled insults â€” dirty Jew, dirty nigger â€” and monkey cries and raised Nazi salutes. Some shouted ‘Le Pen for president’,” he said.
According to Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy: “One of the attackers hit him on the head and another kicked him in the groin, and he fell to the ground. He got out his gun after stating he was a policeman â€” though in what exact circumstances I do not know.”
“(The officer) fired in legitimate self-defense in order to protect his physical person. He had come to the aid of a man in accordance with our rules of engagement, and he had no choice but to shoot,” said Patrice Ribeiro of the Synergie police union.
“I am sorry that there is a dead PSG fan but one has to say that these people are racists who attacked a police officer because he was a man of colour,” said Joaquin Masanet of the UNSA-police union.”
France has some very serious problems. It is a society that is on the verge of a major upheaval.