The last thing we need is another Korkoneas

The last thing we need is another Korkoneas

There is a problem with the incident of the police officer who unnecessarily fired his weapon outside the Athens University of Economics and Business in central Athens. The videos that have circulated on social media do not show the gun-toting officer being surrounded by numerous thugs, which would justify his action as legitimate defense. Instead, we clearly see that a single hooligan throws a rock towards his car, the policeman starts shooting, and then he drives away with relative ease from the scene.

But, worse than being unnecessary, the officer’s decision to shoot four times in the air was dangerous. Patission Street is full of apartment buildings and there is very little room for “safe” shots. Besides risking hitting someone nearby, you never know where four random bullets may land. We know from experience that “shooting in the air” can be fatal. Οn Easter Sunday of 2019, in the town of Thiva, a man with a handgun fired into the air and the bullet ended up in the head of an 8-year-old girl who died. That incident took place in a village. It is therefore pure luck that the officer’s bullets, though fired in a densely populated district, did not find any heads.

We know from experience that ‘shooting in the air’ can be fatal. Οn Easter Sunday of 2019, a man with a handgun fired into the air and the bullet ended up in the head of an 8-year-old girl

If they had, the same pointless questions would have been raised again: How did this happen? Didn’t anyone think officers should not shoot indiscriminately in densely populated areas? Did a man have to die for a patrol car to be spared? Who protects us from the protectors? We would also have had to endure the sad-faced unionists of the Hellenic Police expressing their grief over the “isolated” (as they usually say) incident. And we would also have avoided hearing the general secretary of the Police Officers Union of Attica, Spilios Kriketos, tell us that “if the policeman had not fired to save his life, today we would have had a tragic outcome,” as he told broadcaster Mega.

Unnecessary shootings and reckless behavior are on the rise within the police force. We recently had two fatal incidents which, however, did not result in new riots, such as those that broke out in December 2008 after the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by officer Epaminondas Korkoneas, perhaps because the victims were Roma. Worse, of all, it seems that cases of policemen who violate the express orders of their superiors are also on the rise. In October 2021, an order was given to halt the pursuit of 18-year-old Nikos Sabanis, which began over an allegedly unpaid gas station bill, but the officers continued until they killed him, firing at least 36 bullets into his vehicle. In the latest incident on Patission Street, it was revealed that they disobeyed an express order to avoid the area, due to tensions outside the university.

The last thing the government and the country need is a new Korkoneas who does whatever he pleases, causing havoc. Judging from the number of handguns pulled out thoughtlessly, we must accept that we are not that far from another fatal incident.

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