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Society

After Teen Shot in Head by Cop, Roma Leaders in Greece Urge Calm

ATHENS – Leaders of Greece’s Roma community called for an end to violent protests that came after a police officer was charged with shooting a 16-year-old Roma boy in the head during a chase after he drove away from a gas station without paying for 20 euros ($21.05) worth of fuel.

The youth was in intensive care in a hospital after the shooting in Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki, which resulted in tumultuous demonstrations there as well as in Athens where the 14th anniversary was marked of the shooting death of a 15-year old boy, Alexis Grigoropoulos by a reserve police officer.

Civil Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos said the shooting of the Roma boy,  identified as Kostas Frangoulis, was being investigated and “everyone should respect that,” as he tried to rein in the fury too, reported The Guardian.

He also said that the attacks and injuries sustained by police officers dealing with near-riots “must be unanimously condemned … we support the police but always strictly within the framework of the law. The law is for everyone without exception.”

The officer who shot Frangoulis hasn’t been named and has been suspended while facing charges of attempted manslaughter with possible intent and illegally using his service pistol, the paper also said.

He told a public prosecutor the target was was the vehicle’s wheel and that he opened fire only twice after the teenager attempted to ram one of the pursuing police patrols, which put “the lives of my colleagues in danger,” the report added.

But the Roma community was in an uproar after the shooting that was the latest in what it said was a long line of incidents of police brutality against it and that they

“The only thing we want is justice,” the boy’s father told reporters. “The policeman should be punished and put inside because he shot a 16-year-old,” adding that his son should have paid but …  should not have shot him and (tried to) kill him.”

After the shooting of  Grigoropoulos there were two weeks of unrelenting riots tat were the worst Greece had seen in decades, leading to a firestorm of shops and cars being burned and lingering unrest that  Theodorikakos said shouldn’t be repeated.

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