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Society

Greek Police Lawyer Irked by Leaks in Gay Activist’s Death

December 30, 2018

ATHENS – The lawyer representing eight police officers accused of brutality in an incident that led to the death of 33-year-old LGBTQ activist Zak Kostopoulos has complained about the lead of a decision recommending four of them be fired.

Attorney Thanasis Plevris wrote to Greek Police (ELAS) Chief Aristeidis Andrikopoulos about his unhappiness the news about an internal inquiry had gotten to the press and been reported widely.

Plevris accused Police Lieutenant General Aristeidis Andrikopoulos of violating his clients’ privacy and the burden of proof over the decision that saw the other four put on administrative leave and at the risk of also being dismissed, reported Kathimerini.

The eight officers were charged after a video emerged showing them surrounding Kostopoulos as he lay bleeding on the ground after being beaten by a jewelry store owner and another man who thought the activist was trying to rob the business.

In the footage from the incident, at least one officer is seen kicking the prone 33-year-old and another stepping on his arm.

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.

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