ATHENS – Four of eight Greek police officers who responded to an incident that involved LGBTQ activist Zak Kostopoulos dying after a beating should be dismissed for their actions, an administrative inquiry has reportedly recommended.
Police sources who weren’t identified revealed that to the state-run Athens News Agency which also reported that other four officers should be put on administrative leave and possibly sacked, the panel also said.
The report, the news agency added, has not been forwarded yet to Greek Police (ELAS) Chief Aristeidis Andrikopoulos, who has the final say on the fate of the eight officers accused of excessive use of force.
The police were charged after a video showed them surrounding the 33-year-old Kostopoulos as he lay bleeding on the ground after a brutal assault by a jewelry store owner and another man who thought the activist was trying to rob the business.
In the footage from the September 21 incident, at least one officer is seen kicking the prone Kostopoulos and another stepping on his arm. The eight officers told an examining magistrate that was part of their training to subdue an armed suspect.
An autopsy found Kostopoulos died of a heart attack as a consequence of repeated blunt trauma and that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The incident with Kostopoulos occurred Sept. 21 in Omonia Square after he had gone into a jewelry store in what supporters said was an attempt to escape people after him. The store owner and another shop owner, saying they thought he was trying to rob the store, kicked him repeatedly in the head and body as he crawled out through a broken display window.
Media reports said arriving police joined in the attack and that the victim was hit at least once as he was motionless on the ground and unable to resist.
Kostopoulos’ family asked for the charges against the two shop owners to be changed from manslaughter to first-degree murder.
The coroners said they also found multiple cuts that were not fatal deriving from blows and kicks to the hands and the legs.