Unprecedented! A ticket controller slapped a woman in the face after he found out that the jobless had no valid ticket with her. The incident occurred at the Metro station Omonia in downtown Athens. The attacker and the victim turned to the nearest police station but the woman was not able to file a lawsuit against him as she could not afford to pay the legal fee of 100 euro.
The victim, Smaro Kokkosi, 22, described her incredible adventure with the personnel of Greek public transport means on the students’ website My Student Pass.gr. Kokkosi admits that she did not buy a discount ticket of 0.60 euro. The Sociology graduate had just submitted her CV to a shoe shop near the Metro station and was lost in thoughts and hope for a work place and a salary. She did not pay attention to the controllers who were surveying in the middle level of the metro station.
An excerpt of her post, summarized and translated by KTG:
“One of the controllers stopped me and asked for my ticket. … I told him Ii was unemployed but it was as if I was seeking understanding from a wall… I was speaking politely but he shouted at me: “You can’t go anywhere, you have yo give us your data.”. I refused to comply. I refused out of fear of the 36 euro fine. If I had such much money I would have bought a monthly card.
I told him I knew my rights, that I was not obliged to wait for the police he had called and that I have claustrophobia.
In ironic and rude style he said “Claustrophobia? You suffer form nothing” and started pushing me as I was walking towards the exit keep saying “Let me go!”.
I got on the rolling stairs, he came in front of me, kept on pushing on me, said ” You will not get away with this, you idiot!” and generously slapped me in the face. A colleague of him intervened, told him to calm down and go away. If it wasn’t for him, I can hardly imagine what would have happened.
I felt the pain in my left jaw for more than an hour.
Before I reached the exit, a policeman came and we all three went to an office inside the station. I told the policeman that the controller had slapped me and the latter said “Let’s see the bruise. There is nothing there!”.
The police man recorded the incident, and the controller told him that I would constantly use the metro without ticket, that they issue fines and I slip through, but that this time I couldn’t get away.
These charges are unfounded and unproven.
The policeman told me that he could not file a lawsuit against the controller as he was not present at the incident, but I could thus paying a lawsuit fee of 100 euro.
In short that means that I either get justice by filing a lawsuit against this man and paying 100 euro that I obviously do not have or I pay the fine for the crime I committed, while the physical and psychological violence I suffered goes unpunished and unrecorded.
Smaro Kokkosi” ( full post In Greek here)
It is not the first time that ticket controllers display behavior far beyond the call of duty. In August 2013, a 19-year-old dodger jumped from a trolley bus trying to escape a quarrel with a ticket controller and a rather violent trolley driver. Apparently the trolly was in motion when the young man jumped outside, hit his head on the pavement and died a couple of hours later in an Athens hospital.
At that time , some Greek media knew to report that ticket controllers do have to issue a fine once they catch a fare dodger and that they get a 10$ bonus.
UPDATE: The incident has been broadcast by all mainstream media and the Athens Metro management saw itself obliged to launch an investigation on the issue. So far, the management has claimed that “investigation from the close circuit cameras has brought no results.” Speaking to STAR TV this morning and in an effort to facilitate the investigation, Smaro Kokkosi said that the incident happened on Monday, Nov 3/2014 sometime between 12:30-1:00 pm.
According to Kokkosi’s public testimony, “two ticket collectors and one policeman were involved.” And certainly there were eye-witnesses….
PS A public servant, a male of a pr*** thinks that he can slap people just because they dare to question his authority? That’s a slap in the face of a whole society, not matter how debt-ridden or not!