Ex-police chief blamed for fiasco at Zoniana

The father of a policeman who was left paralyzed after a botched raid on a notorious Cretan village in November 2007 told a court in Athens yesterday that the local police chief was to blame for his son’s injuries as he had informed locals the operation would take place. Stathis Lazaridis was paralyzed from the neck down after some residents of the village of Zoniana opened fire on a group of about officers that was sent there to break up criminal gangs. Yiannis Lazaridis, Stathis’s father, claimed that Cretan Police Chief Antonis Vitorakis had contacted Zoniana residents ahead of the raid to ensure that police did not meet resistance, so that claims that criminals in the area were operating with impunity would be disproved. Lazaridis added that the operation was not aborted even after villagers began shooting at the officers.