France's interior minister on Sunday accused a top French actress of Algerian origin of making "deceitful and shameful" comments after she accused the police of systematic racism.
Camelia Jordana, who was born in France to Algerian parents, had said in a talk show on Sunday that people "get massacred" by the police in the Paris suburbs simply due to the colour of their skin.
Jordana, 27, who rose to fame as a singer, has appeared in a dozen films and won the prestigious Cesar award for most promising actress for her role on the 2017 comedy "Le Brio".
Jordana had said that men and women who work in the suburbs "get massacred for no other reason than the colour of their skin. It's a fact".
"There are thousands of people who do not feel safe in front of a policeman. And I am one of them," she added.
Writing on Twitter, Castaner denied that this was the case and said: "These deceitful and shameful statements feed hatred and violence. They merit unmitigated condemnation."
The French police union Alliance said in a statement that Jordana had made "unacceptable accusations against the police" and added it was filing a complaint with prosecutors.
But anti-racism group SOS Racisme said in a statement it backed the "analysis" made by the actress.
"We regret that the interior minister, by placing the emphasis on the use of the term 'massacre', decided it was useful to condemn the statements by Camelia Jordana,"it said.
"This attitude -- shared by several police unions -- is symptomatic of the impossibility in our country of dealing with the unfortunately real subject of racism within the police force," said Dominique Sopo, the president of SOS Racisme.
Jordana's comments have struck a nerve in France, where activists insist the police are still marked by institutionalised racism whereas authorities say it is only isolated incidents that need to be stamped out.