Four police officers charged with causing fatal bodily harm in connection with the death of LGBTQ activist in September were released ahead of their trial, after completing their testimonies before an investigative magistrate on Wednesday.
The policemen have all denied the charge, claiming they never beat Zak Kostopoulos and that they were only performing their duty to detain what they were told at the time was a robber.
“The call concerned a robbery in progress at a jewelry store by an individual wielding a dangerous object,” the police officers said, pointing to initial reports indicating that Kostopoulos had tried to rob the business at knifepoint.
They argued that the case file acknowledges the victim had entered the jewelry store with a knife to steal objects. They also cited the forensic report on the death of Kostopoulos, which they claimed shows that the victim's death was not the result of their actions.
Kostopoulos was killed after he entered the store in downtown Athens and was attacked by the business’s owner and another man who allegedly mistook him for a robber.
Two coroners called in to investigate the circumstances that led to the 33-year-old’s death have ruled that he suffered a fatal heart attack as a result of the brutal beating.
The policemen are shown in a video hitting the 33-year-old.