Policeman’s parents apologize

The parents of the police special guard who shot dead 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos in Exarchia, central Athens, in December 2008, sparking an unprecedented wave of riots, yesterday publicly apologized to the teenager’s father for the death of his son. Epaminondas Korkoneas’s father, Panaretos, and mother, Olga, appeared in court in Amfissa, northwest of Athens, for the first time as witnesses in the trial of their son and his colleague Vassilis Saraliotis, who is charged with being an accessory. «We are profoundly sorry, we are good people, please do not believe anything else,» Panaretos Korkoneas said to Grigoropoulos’s father who is attending the trial independently of the teenager’s mother as the couple are separated. «We ask for the mother’s forgiveness,» said Korkoneas. «I wanted to hug her and tell her but I am not sure how she would react. I know my son, he is not a criminal. We feel so sorry for this child, who did not get a chance to find out what life is about.» Epaminondas Korkoneas, a father of two, has been in custody since the incident. He accepts that he fired warning shots on the night of December 6, 2008 but denies aiming his gun directly at the crowd of youths in which Grigoropoulos was standing. «Epaminondas is not a murderer,» said the policeman’s mother. «It could never be possible that he wanted something like this to happen. He told us that he fired into the air. He is a calm person, so how could he raise his arm and shoot straight ahead? «I ask for forgiveness from the boy’s family but my position is no better,» she added. Meanwhile, a taxi driver who said he was dropping off a client close to where the shooting take place, said he heard two shots. Dimitris Frilligos also claims to have heard one of the policemen swear at a witness who challenged them over the shooting. The trial is due to continue today with the testimony of other officers serving at the Exarchia police station.

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