Police will reopen the investigation into the death of LGBTI activist and drag queen, Zak Kostopoulos. The decision comes after two coroner’s reports revealed he died from a heart attack brought on by injuries he received during a violent assault in Greece.
Two men violently beat in Kostopoulos – also known as Zackie Oh – in Athens on 21 September. They reportedly thought he was trying to rob a jewellery store. A video of the assault shows the two men stomping his head onto the concrete but also shows police dealing with him roughly and kicking him. It is understood Kostopoulos became locked in the shop after fleeing from a group of people at a nearby cafe.
Since his death, Kostopoulos’ family, friends and advocates have campaigned for a new investigation into his death. They claimed police misled the public, saying Kostopoulos was high on drugs and trying to rob the store. They also asserted Kostopoulos died from the alleged drugs in his system.
Greek Police (ELAS) will also investigate the conduct of it motorcycle-riding unit DIAS during the incident. ELAS launched a sworn administrative inquiry (EDE) to look into the police’s role in Kostopoulos’ death.
Nine of the officers involved have been transferred to another location according to reports in newspaper, Ekathimerini.
The coroner’s 10-page report confirmed police have charged the two men seen assaulting Kostopoulos. Their charges include inflicting lethal harm resulting in death and with the misdemeanour of causing grievous bodily harm.
The coroners’ report ‘sheds light on the case, and is a powerful rebuttal over all suspicions of a cover-up, over bigotry and over efforts to defame a man who is no longer alive. Justice will prevail’ the Citizen Protection Minister, Olga Gerovassili, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.