Grigoropoulos trial under way
The two policemen accused of involvement in the December 2008 shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, whose death sparked widespread rioting, yesterday denied murder, as the boy’s mother accused the pair of treating her son like a «cockroach.» «I do not accept liability for anyone’s death,» said special guard Epaminondas Korkoneas, accused of shooting at Grigoropoulos following a verbal exchange in the central Athens neighborhood of Exarchia. «I would have stepped forward to shield anyone, including those kids. It was the outcome of a difficult moment.» Korkoneas’s lawyers are arguing that he fired a warning shot after a group of youths had thrown objects at him and his partner Vassilis Saraliotis. Korkoneas will argue that the bullet ricocheted before striking Grigoropoulos. Saraliotis denies any involvement, despite accusations that he encouraged Korkoneas, 39, to shoot. «I do not accept I intended to be involved in his death,» said Saraliotis, 33. «I have nothing to do with my colleague’s action. I am certain that I am innocent and I plan to prove it.» The trial was due to start Wednesday but was delayed for 48 hours as Grigoropoulos’s mother, Gina Tsalikian, could not attend. She was in court yesterday and accused the two special guards of murdering her son. «They started swearing at the kids and telling them to leave: ‘Get out of here,’ said the policeman; ‘Why? What are you going to do to me?’ replied Alexis, at which point he got out his gun and shot him,» said Tsalikian. «They saw a child fall to the ground dead and just left. They went back to their headquarters and did not say they had shot a child. It was like they had killed a little mouse. These people valued the life of my son as much as a cockroach’s.» Tsalikian said that Alexis and a friend had unwittingly found themselves between a group of anarchists and the two officers after the policemen used a stun grenade, prompting the two youngsters to go and see what was going on. «He was a quiet, reserved boy loved by everyone,» said Tsalikian. «He trusted the police and they shot him.» Korkoneas’s lawyer, Alexis Kougias, asked the court to investigate whether Grigoropoulos had been involved in crowd trouble at a water polo match just hours before he was killed. The trial is due to resume next Friday.