Police behavior in spotlight

Greek Police Chief Anastassios Dimoschakis ordered the heads of the force to be on the lookout for violent behavior from their officers, as a fifth policeman was suspended yesterday in connection with the beating of two migrants at a police station in Omonia last year. Dimoschakis called the urgent meeting yesterday as the police force braces itself for the release of more videos showing alleged police brutality. The video that surfaced on the weekend showed a sergeant at the Omonia police station in central Athens beating and humiliating two migrants who had been detained on suspicion of snatching a woman’s handbag. Four officers, including the precinct captain, were immediately suspended over the affair. Two of the officers, the border guards who arrested the migrants, deny any part in the incident. The precinct captain said he was not on duty when the incident occurred. The four policemen are due to be questioned by police internal affairs investigators today. Dimoschakis yesterday ordered the suspension of a fifth officer who is seen in the video walking in and out of the office where the beating took place. The discovery of the video has led to a resurgence in activity from self-styled anarchists. About 20 masked youths wielding sledgehammers and iron bars damaged four banks and a government car at around 9.50 a.m. near Exarchia, central Athens. One man suffered slight injuries from broken glass. No arrests were made. The banks targeted included a branch of US-based Citigroup, Emporiki (owned by France’s Credit Agricole) and National Bank. A car belonging to the Development Ministry was also destroyed. The rampage lasted around five minutes. Police said the attackers scattered leaflets demanding the release from prison of Yiannis Dimitrakis, a robbery suspect. Officers also said that the assailants used the National Technical University of Athens as a base for their attacks and took refuge there after the raid.

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