A Moroccan man filmed himself driving his Ferrari while totally drunk on the night of April 17 — an act which, unsurprisingly, ended in a car crash. The videos he posted on Snapchat before and after the accident, including one in which he openly mocks the police officer who came to make a report, has scandalised social media in the country.
The young man is Hamza Derham, the son of a well-known, wealthy Moroccan businessman. Derham posted a series of videos on Snapchat, filmed by someone else, showing him swigging from a bottle of champagne while driving, dancing in a club, and then later uncorking another bottle of champagne in the car. The next snap, in the cold light of day, shows the smashed bonnet and headlight of his Ferrari, before swinging round to show him wearing sunglasses and a vest, and gesticulating and jeering at the camera.
Derham seems to be still drunk, and he trains the camera on the police officer, while sniggering, "Mr Reporter, what are you reporting Mr Reporter?" [In (incorrect) French: "Monsieur le constateur, qu’est-ce que tu constates monsieur le constateur ? "]
The officers on the scene ignore him. The final snap shows Derham in an ambulance, in the passenger seat next to the driver. He films himself and the driver while looking over his sunglasses and blithely smoking a cigarette.
Hamza Derham is the son of Mohamed Derham, a businessman from Laâyoune in the south of the country, who died in 2015. Mohamed Derham was director and CEO of Atlas Sahara, an oil importer and distributor, and also the nephew of Rkia Derham, a politician recently named secretary of state for foreign trade.
"Je suis Monsieur le constateur"
Hamza Derham rapidly became the laughing stock of social media. On Facebook, a slogan sprung up, riffing off the style of the slogan that came out in support of the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in 2015: "I am Mr Reporter" ["Je suis monsieur le constateur"].
But his nonchalant attitude and the indifference to the police infuriated some people on social media. Some Moroccans accused the police of being lenient with rich people but strict with ordinary citizens.
The family "in shock"
In the face of the outrage quickly spreading across social media, the authorities decided to respond.
In a statement on Tuesday April 18, the Directorate General of Public Security (DGSN) said that it would temporarily suspend one of the police officers for not having reacted when Hamza Derham was mocking him. An inquest has been opened "to determine the actors involved and the results of this accident, which was caused by a driver that hit three vehicles stopped at a red light".
The DGSN hasn't made public whether Derham was arrested or allowed to go.
The Derham family refused to comment on the matter to national media. Hamza Derham's lawyer told local media ChoufTV that "the family is in shock".
This isn't the first time that the son of a well-known person or celebrity has hit the headlines.
At the end of January this year, the son of a businessman in Kénitra aggressively insulted [link in French] a police officer in front of her colleagues for giving him a ticket.