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Our lawyers speak out

The digital revolution demands clear rules for citizens.

I had the opportunity to express my thoughts on the online fundraiser set up in the name of the police officer's family in this tragic case where young Nahel was killed following a failure to comply. A staggering 1,635,710 euros were collected on the GoFundMe platform in just a few days! The description of the fundraiser reads: "Support for the family of the police officer from Nanterre, Florian.M, who did his job and is now paying a heavy price."

In this context, the astonishing amount of the fundraiser is shocking. Is it legal?

Under French law, a fundraiser must comply with public order. It cannot be used to pay for already imposed penalties (Article 40 of the Law of July 29, 1881, on freedom of the press).

Compliance with public order is interpreted by the courts. In the case of the "yellow vest boxer," the Paris Judicial Court ruled on January 6, 2021, that the fundraiser was contrary to public order because it encouraged the use of violence against public authorities. The contract was annulled, and the donations were to be returned.

What about when the public force causes a death? Of course, in our rule of law, the police officer has an absolute right to self-defense. Is that the purpose of the fundraiser? Does the amount collected not raise questions?

The interpretation by the courts will be all the more complicated in the Nahel case as the family has chosen to file a complaint for organized fraud and complicity in this offense... Will the legality of the fundraiser be part of the discussions?

In a more general reflection, the digital revolution and the disruption of practices brought about by technology demand clear rules for citizens, for all users, at all levels. Clear rules of protection and use must be established. They should be accessible and understandable. We should not have to question the legality of the fundraiser set up for the police officer. They should not be subject to court interpretation...