Ombudsman to probe claims of police brutality after Grigoropoulos shooting rally

Ombudsman to probe claims of police brutality after Grigoropoulos shooting rally

The Greek Ombudsman is to investigate reports of police brutality on the sidelines of a rally on Friday evening to commemorate the 2008 police killing of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos in the downtown Athens district of Exarchia.

The Hellenic Police (ELAS) sent the Ombusdman a file of video footage and photographs from the clashes between riot police and protesters that broke out after the rally near the spot where Grigoropoulos was shot and killed by off-duty police officer Epameinondas Korkoneas, whose prison sentence was cut short earlier this year on the basis of more lenient provisions in the new penal code introduced in June.

The move to inform the Ombudsman of the allegations came after a slew of amateur and professional footage was posted on social media on Friday night and Saturday morning showing riot officers using heavy handed methods to remand dozens of protesters for questioning.

Among these are a series of photographs from a photojournalist with the Eurokinissi new agency, Tatiana Bolari, showing police manhandling a half-naked man and a woman whose shirt has been pulled over her head.

“These are photographs of remands, not arrests. Being remanded means being held until proven to have done something. Being remanded, or being arrested, does not mean being humiliated,” Bolari said in a post on Facebook.

Other videos posted by residents of Exarchia reportedly show several people pleading with police not to manhandle them and claiming their innocence with regards to the violence unleashed by groups of self-styled anarchists who pelted riot officers with makeshift firebombs and rocks, and smashed cars and shop windows.

In a statement released Saturday, ELAS also calls on citizens and witnesses who may have photos or videos showing police violence to present them to the Ombudsman.

Police remanded 40 people and made 10 arrests.

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