A shocking case of self-redress in downtown Athens in the middle of the day. Two men beat to death a drug-addict who attempted to rob a jewelry shop in Omonia Square in the center of Greek capital.
A video shows the ‘thief’ coming out of the jewelry shop. He is already in obviously miserable condition, he can hardly walk or stand upright.
People have gathered outside the shop apparently waiting to see the outcome of the ‘robbery.’
The moment the thief exists the shop, the two men who seem to have been waiting for him outside, start to kick him with shocking violence.
The crowd, mostly men, do nothing to stop the violent outbreak.
The two men keep kicking the man who falls on the ground from the very first moment.
They continue to beat him mainly on his face as his head is lying over the broken window glasses of the jewelry shop.
At some point, somebody from the crowd intervenes. They stop beating the victim who is now lying motionless in the middle of the pavement.
The crowd comes closer and some bow to check … if he is still alive?
Police officers from the units on motorcycles arrive and put handcuffs on the man lying in the middle of the street.
No handcuff to the beaters.
The victim dies short time later, on the way to a hospital in Athens.
As the video first uploaded by Proto Thema went viral very quickly after the incident, prosecution authorities would not turn a blind eye to the brutal beating around 2:30 Friday noon.
Footage broadcast by SKAI TV late on Saturday, shows that after the victim has been checked by “ambulance paramedics” as reporters explain, another man comes and kicks him while he is lying on the street. The man stand up and as if in amok he grabs a piece from the window glasses. He makes a few steps, falls on some cafe tables, stumbles upon a chair and falls down.
Police men rush to him, one beats him with a baton. They all fall over him and try to remove the glass piece from his hand.
In a third edited video, a knife has been shown as evidence that the thief was armed.
ERT TV reported citing police sources that the man had several fracture injuries.
Shop owner arrested
Investigation conducted in fast track procedure, revealed that one of the beating men is the owner of the jewelry shop.
Police arrested him on Saturday morning.
The second man is on the run by 6 o’clock Saturday afternoon.
The shop owner was taken to prosecutor and remains in custody until Tuesday where he is expected to testify.
He is charged for causing severe bodily harm with intention, a felony.
The shop owner’s lawyer said his client was not involved in the tragic death of the man who committed the robbery. He said that his client informed the police and then together with other people tried to hinder that the thief fled. The thief was injured from the broken glasses, the lawyer said adding that it is indicative that after the injuries he stood up and threatened them with a piece of glass.”
ERT reported citing again police sources that the shop owner initially said, he was outrageous because his shop was robbed several times. “I wanted to protect my property,” he said according to ERT.
The thief went to rob the shop at Glastonos Street in Athens and got trapped inside after the security door closed automatically. In his effort to come out, he tried to break the door with a fire extinguisher. As he did not manage to break the door, he broke the shop window and came out.
It is right there over the broken glasses where the two men attack him and start beating him.
At the point the thief entered the shop the owner was absent.
An autopsy is to determine the exact causes of the death. The results are expected on Monday.
Pictures from the scene show blood traces inside the shop suggesting he may have suffered also some injuries while he was trying to break the glass door.
Police investigation continues.
Victim was an activist
A couple of hours later, the victim’s identity was revealed. Zacharias “Zack” Kostopoulos, a well-known activist for LGBT rights in Athens. Somebody who was struggling to bring down prejudice against HIV-positive people.
Many knew him from the columns he occasionally wrote on newspapers and magazines, others just from his accounts on social media.
In older interview in scene magazines Kostopoulos had said “I’m a drug addict, HIV positive since 2009, gay and a drag queen.”
He had studied acting.
Large parts of the society are shocked and many Greeks on social media write that also the crowd that stood by without doing anything to prevent the brutal beating should be prosecuted.
As investigation continues, internet users question “why police handcuffed a dying man” and “whether paramedics offered him first aid on the spot or just took him to the hospital.”
Majority of Greek internet users condemn the brutal beating and ask “is it worth to take someone’s life to protect your assets?”
“Do assets have more value than the human life?”
Other wonder about the stage of the Greek society, when people take the law in their own hands.
One wrote “a junkie and aspiring thief was beaten to death, now the drug problem was solved in downtown Athens.”
“Zack was a wonderful, sweet creature who loved life. He was trying to explain to both on the left and the right political spectrum what it is to be an antifascist drag queen,” a friend of the victim wrote on social media.
Zack was only 30 years old.