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Relentless questions on killing of young Roma by Greek police remain unanswered

Relentless questions about the killing of the young unarmed Roma Nikos Sampanis remain unanswered still four days after the shootout in Perama late last Friday. Seven police officers involved in the shooting remain detained in the headquarters of the Greek Police as the communication between the police operation center and the motorcycled unit DIAS is being leaked to the press.

The seven police officers are facing charges of homicide with possible intention and are expected to be brought before the investigator on Wednesday, October 27.

In the dialogue published by newspaper tanea and MEGA TV, it is more than clear that the officer in charge of communication ordered the motorcycled officers to stop the chase of the car.

The officer in charge is heard saying “Stop the chase, there is a central command!” and  repeating “I have told you (to all units) to stop. I have an order from a senior officer ” The order is given seven times. “We have told you repeatedly. Do not pursue them, there is an order. ”

According to newspaper avgi, in communication with the operation center, the DIAS officers say that “three Roma” were inside the car. The immediately received the order to stop the chase.

Why did the DIAS units ignore the order?

The defense lawyer of the officers in detention told media that “they did not hear anything like that.”

The second question refers to the police statement on Saturday noon that it noted “seven police officers were injured.”

At the published dialogue, DIAS-officers are heard clearly repeating a few times that “no police officer was injured.”

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A third question is that why the officers did not shoot at the tires and the engine to stop the car but at the driver and the passengers.

According to media reports, the officers said that they did shoot at the tires. However, all tires of the vehicle seem intact.

A fourth interesting question is that killed Nikos Sampanis was not the driver but he was on the co-driver seat as a picture confirmed. Some media even reported that he was seating in the back seat.

An autopsy on the young Roma victim on Monday found one bullet in the abdomen and one in the chest with the latter have reportedly being the fatal one.

A total of 38 bullet casings were collected from the scene. Ballistic investigation may be able to give answer to who shot whom and charges to be formed accordingly.

“If a dog attacks you and you have a weapon, you do not shoot 36 bullets at him,” Sampanis family lawyer, Thanassis Kampagiannis told Open TV. Describing the killing as “murder” he dismissed any claims form the side of police saying “it can be neither a defense, nor a bad moment, nor even a response to an attack.”

He also dismissed any allegations on the part of the accused police officers, saying that no police officer was injured and no weapons on the part of the victims and no danger to life.

“The police claim that a colleague was in danger. “But this policeman did not use the weapon, nor does he say that his life was in danger”, he Kampagiannis pointed out.

He added that at the time of the shooting, the police did not even know that the car had been stolen and that is why they had the order to stop the pursuit.

“Legality was not observed, Greek Police is not a gang,” Kampagiannis stressed.

According to police, there was indication that the car was stolen when DIAS-officers saw a broken small window in the back of the vehicle that was passing them by. They signaled to driver to stop, but he increased speed and the chase begun through well-populated neighborhoods of western Athens and Piraeus.

At some point, when the driver was blocked by a bus coming from the opposite direction and moved backwards “ramming five police motorcycles chasing him and injuring seven officers,” the Police statement had claimed.

Victim Nikos Sampanis, 18 years old, left behind two young children and a pregnant wife. His family wants justice.

Hours before the seven officers appear before the investigator, the victims’ family asks for reconstruction of the shooting and investigators to examine whether there were “racist motive” behind the death of their son and husband.

“Through their lawyers, the family accuses the police of making fabricated allegations to justify their actions, emphasizing that the police officers violated an explicit order to end the persecution. They believe that the violation of the explicit order to end the persecution in combination with the visible racial origin of the three young people (which is also stated in the testimonies of witnesses) raises suspicions about the possibility of committing homicide with racist motives,” media report on Tuesday evening..

A 15-year-old passenger is still in hospital with a bullet in the abdomen, while the 16-year-old driver left the scene running and is still at large. He is supposed to surrender to police accompanied by his lawyer, as it was announced.

Since the weekend, young Roma deliver on and off clashes with police near their settlement in Aspropyrgos, western Attica.

Minister of Citizen Protection had urge Greek police to deliver a report on the case within five days.

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5 comments

  1. I guess this explains most:
    drove a car suspected to be or have been stolen, deliberately failed to comply at the traffic stop and run away, then finally:
    ‘At some point, when the driver was blocked by a bus coming from the opposite direction and moved backwards “ramming five police motorcycles chasing him and injuring seven officers,” the Police statement said.’

  2. The penalty for being suspected of stealing a car, for violating traffic regulations, even for attempting to commit murder – if that could be proven at this point – is not extrajudicial death, in case this fact has slipped anyone’s mind.

  3. The police have a right to come to their job and not be killed or maimed by any violator of the law.

    In this case, the violators threatened the police through a violent backing up into their motorcycles.

    Anywhere, not just Greece, you must know not to try and run from the police after a violent contact.

    They may defend themselves with a lethal response. That is allowed anywhere as self-defense, not just against ‘Romas’ but anyone.