THESSALONIKI, Greece ( Associated Press) — A Greek court has ordered the release on bail of a police officer accused of killing a Roma teen during a car chase over an alleged unpaid gas station bill. A Roma community leader said the boy’s father planned to appeal Monday against the decision, adding that the agent would face a free trial.
The December 5 incident that killed 16-year-old Kostas Frangoulis, a father of a child, sparked protests that often turned violent despite his family and Roma community leaders urging protesters to restrain themselves. Franglolis died last week after spending more than a week in hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head.
The panel of judges who ordered the release of the 34-year-old police officer imposed bail conditions barring him from leaving the country.
Police say the teenager tried to ram the motorbikes of officers who were chasing her after she allegedly fled a gas station in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki without paying a 20-euro bill . The police officer accused of shooting says he opened fire because he feared the lives of his colleagues were in danger, but said he targeted the tires of the pick-up truck the teen was running into, not the driver Feather.
“The parents were very upset by this decision,” said Panagiotis Sambanis, president of the Roma community in West and Central Macedonia, after the court’s decision. Sambanis said Frangoulis’ father plans to appeal.
“If we had done this, we would have already been behind bars,” Sambanis said. “Justice should have been done rightly. I did not do it. This is injustice to a 16 year old girl.
The case has focused attention on the Roma community in Greece, who face widespread discrimination and are often marginalized by society.