Tags: Greece | Police Shooting

Greece: Roma Community Leaders Call for Calm after Teen Dies

Greece: Roma Community Leaders Call for Calm after Teen Dies

Tuesday, 13 December 2022 01:00 PM EST

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Leaders of the Roma community in northern Greece appealed for calm Tuesday as student and anarchist groups called rallies to protest the death of a Roma teenager shot in the head last week during a police chase over an allegedly unpaid gas station bill.

The Dec 5 shooting of the 16-year-old boy triggered days of often violent protests in Thessaloniki, Athens and other parts of Greece despite repeated calls from his relatives and community leaders for protests to remain peaceful.

“Everyone here is crying. It is unjust for a child to leave like this,” Antonis Tasios, secretary of the Roma community where the teenager lived, said Tuesday morning after the hospital announced the death. “We have great pain.”

The boy had remained hospitalized in intensive care since undergoing emergency surgery. The hospital said he succumbed to his injury Tuesday morning despite the medical team's efforts. His funeral is to be held on Thursday.

Police in Thessaloniki said about 50 people emerged from a university campus Tuesday afternoon and threw several Molotov cocktails at a riot police unit stationed nearby. No injuries were reported.

A police officer on a motorcycle shot the teenager during a pursuit after the youth filled up his pickup truck at a gas station and allegedly drove off without paying the 20-euro ($21) bill.

Police have said the teen, who has not been officially named, tried to ram the police motorbikes involved in the chase. The 34-year-old officer charged in the case said during an initial court appearance last week that he fired his weapon to stop the pickup truck because he feared for the lives of his colleagues, but that he had aimed at the tires, not the driver.

The Roma community has denounced the shooting as having racist motives. Several Roma men have been injured or fatally shot in recent years during confrontations with police while allegedly seeking to evade arrest for breaches of the law.

Members of the Roma community in Greece have long faced discrimination, and many often live on the margins of society.

The police officer accused of firing the fatal shot was suspended and has been under house arrest since Friday on a felony count of attempted manslaughter with possible intent and a misdemeanor count of illegally firing his weapon.

It is highly likely the felony charge will be amended to manslaughter due to the teen's death. A court decision on whether to jail or release the officer before trial is expected in the coming days.

Citizens' Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos, who has jurisdiction over Greek police, tweeted his “deep sorrow for the death of the 16-year-old boy” and extended his condolences to the teenager's family.

“I repeat that this case is being investigated by the judicial system, which is the only one competent to assess the facts and judge responsibilities,” the minister wrote. “Let us all respect that.”

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Leaders of the Roma community in northern Greece appealed for calm Tuesday as student and anarchist groups called rallies to protest the death of a Roma teenager shot in the head last week during a police chase over an allegedly unpaid gas station bill. The Dec 5 shooting...
Greece,Police Shooting
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2022-00-13
Tuesday, 13 December 2022 01:00 PM
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