A beloved drag queen and LGBTI activist has been violently beaten to death according to a coroner’s report.
The toxicology report and cause of death of Zak Kostopoulos, 33, have been released. They refuted the police’s official version of what happened.
Also known as the drag performer – Zackie Oh – he was beaten to death on 21 September by two men outside a jewellery store in the central Athens district of Omonoia.
A shocking video shows an unarmed Kostopoulos trying to exit the store after he got accidentally locked in. When trying to break the door with a fire extinguisher failed, Kostopoulos climbed through a broken window at the front of the shop.
But two men begin violently kicking him as a crowd of onlookers stand by. After a paramedic tends to him, Kostopoulos regained consciousness and tried to run away.
Eyewitness reported that he seemed disoriented and when police intercepted him they began to beat him.
Kostopoulos died from his injuries in the ambulance on the way to hospital.
What happened to Zackie Oh?
In the days after his death media and police released a range of versions about Kostopoulos’ final moments. They accused him of being a drug addict who was trying to rob the jewellery store.
But his supporters and other human rights advocates have accused police of not properly investigating his death and being too rough with Kostopoulos during his arrest.
Today the coroner released his cause of death, a day after a toxicology report revealed Kostopoulos had no drugs in his system at the time of his death. He also had a very low blood alcohol content, under the legal driving limit.
Coroner Nikos Kalogrias revealed Kostopoulos died of myocardial ischemia, also known as cardiac ischemia.
Kalogrias concluded the activists’ physical injuries had a ‘causative effect’ on his death.
Myocardial ischemia happens when blood flow to the heart is reduced, preventing it from receiving enough oxygen. The reduced blood flow is usually the result of a partial or complete blockage of the heart’s arteries.
‘The cause of death of Zak Kostopoulos was the ischemic type of myocardial lesions, which were a causative link to the multiple lesions the deceased had on various parts of his body,’ Kalogirias told media on Tuesday (20 Novemeber).
For those who have called for justice for Kostopoulos today’s news is vindication. It proves that the media and police’s attempts to paint Kostopoulos as a ‘junkie’ and ‘thief’ were untrue.
Gay Star News has reached out to the Hellenic Police for comment.