One man is dead and another seriously wounded after a plainclothes police officer shot into a crowd of French hooligans trying to lynch him and a Hapoel Tel Aviv fan in Paris. According to statements from the police and government officials, the shooting had been preceded by racist remarks directed at the policeman, Antoine Granomort, who is of Caribbean origin, and at the fan Yaniv Hazout, aged 21.
The incident took place on Thursday night, after Hapoel Tel Aviv defeated Paris St-Germain 4:2 in an UEFA match at the Parc de princes stadium. The Paris football team's fans have a reputation for hooliganism, and its hardcore fan club, the Boulougne Boys, is affiliated with right-wing extremist groups. The loss to the Israeli team apparently did not sit well with them.
Eyewitness and football reporter Philippe Broussard writes in L'Express, that several hundred PSG supporters roamed the streets outside the stadium looking for a supporter of the opposing team, after the match. He describes coming upon a scene of a group of 100 to 150 young people surrounding a tall black man in a beige, woolen sweater carrying a tear gas grenade and urging another man, apparently a Hapoel supporter, to stay behind him. The crowd was yelling at the two men, hurling insults at them and acting in a threatening manner. Suddenly, Broussard writes, he heard shouts of "he's got a piece, he's got a piece." He saw the first man drop his tear gas grenade and pick it up again, retreating with the other man whom he seemed to be guarding from the crowd. Several minutes later there were gun shots. Only afterward, according to the L'Express reporter, did the hooligans realize that the man in the sweater was a plainclothes police officer:
"C'est un flic, c'est un flic!", crient les assaillants, qui semblent également découvrir sa qualité de policier. ["He's a cop, he's a cop!" shout the attackers, who also seem to be discovering [i.e., at the same time as the reporter Broussard] that the man is a police officer.]LeMonde reports that according to the Paris district attorney, Jean-Claude Marin, the PSG fans shouted racist insults at the two men before the shooting:
Il semble que des injures racistes assez massives aient été proférées : "sale nègre, sale juif." Il y avait aussi "Le Pen président," des cris de singe et des saluts nazis [It seems that they hurled serious racist insults, "dirty nigger, dirty Jew." There were also cries of "Le Pen for president," monkey grunts, and Nazi salutes].President Jacques Chirac expressed his dismay at the "scandalous violence," and Interior Minister and presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy said that it was unacceptable that a fan of a football team would be chased with cries of "dirty Jew."
There is some controversy at the moment as to whether the police officer revealed his identity to the hooligans.