Eyewitness statement on the killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos - 06 December 2008

Translation of the statement of Nikos R., which describes what happened on the night of December 6 and how the police shot his friend Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

Submitted by Steven. on December 15, 2008

I go to the first year of high school at Psychiko Public High School. I knew Alexandros, or Gregory (the pet name we used for him, from his last name) since 4th grade in elementary school. We used to go to the same school. Until the first year of middle school we didn't keep close company. From the first year of middle school however, until yesterday when they killed him, we were close friends.

Yesterday 12-6-2008 were you with Alexandros?
Yesterday around 5:50 p.m. I went with a friend from next door to Larisis Station. Before I went there, however, I had spoken with Alexandros. He told me that he was going to go to a polo match... I told him to call me when the match was over so we could meet at Mesolongi Street, in Exarcheia. He was going to go to the match with his friend Nikos F. and P. Ch. At regular intervals we used to meet there. We planned to go to Faros Psychikou, to find our friends from our old schools and go do something together because yesterday I celebrated my name day.

In the end, Alexandros called you when the match ended. Where was he going to go?
Yes, he called me and told me to start out and he would set out as well from the athletic field... From what I see on my cell phone the call from Alexandros happened at 7:10 p.m.

When did you meet with Alexandros on Mesolongi Street in Exarcheia?
I don't remember exactly. About 45 minutes before the incident. From my friend's house I went by foot. I went up Ipeirou (if I am not mistaken), then right to the Museum, left up on Stournari up to the square on the right, and 10 meters afterwards is Mesolongi. I waited for him 3 to 4 minutes.

When he came what did you do?
When he came we went to a convenience store 10 meters further up and we bought something to eat and two soft drinks... We went back again to the sidewalk on Mesologgiou Streeet to eat and talk.

Where exactly did you sit?
We sat there by the entrance of an apartment building at the intersection of Mesolongi and Tzavella, on the left side where we were watching Zoodochou Pigis Street. There they have three railings on the walkway where you can sit. We sat there. (At this point they show the witness a printed map of the area.) We ate the things we had bought and suddenly, as we were talking, we heard a somewhat loud bang. Near enough to us that we could hear it, but far enough away that we couldn't figured out what had happened. We didn't pay any attention...

Did you see light accompany the bang that you described to me?
No, because from the direction where we heard the bang, we didn't have visual contact, because there was a wall in front of us... In order to see what happens on Navarinou Street you have to leave down the middle of the walkway of Tzavella Street.

After a minute and a half we heard about 4 or 5 passers by "the cops are coming, something happened...". So out of curiosity, Alexandros and I went to the middle of Tzavella Street to see what had happened. A distance of 2 to 3 meters away... When we went out into the middle of the walkway we saw from a distance of 15 to 20 meters two police officers. They were right at the intersection of Zoodochou Pigis and Tzavella. One was taller than the other. Next they stopped at the intersection of the two streets... In front of us there was no one else. Alexandros was in front of me and I was behind and to the right of them. When the police stopped at Zoodochou Pigis and Tzavella, they had their hands, left or right I don't remember, on their weapons which were in their holsters which hang from the belt. Someone from behind me tossed an empty plastic bottle and naturally it did not reach the police. I forgot to tell you that when I saw the police, they started to curse at me and Alexandros, saying "We will f... the Virgin Mary, come here and I'll show you who is the tough guy" and things like that. The guys behind us were yelling "get back" and "go to hell..." at the police...

When someone threw the plastic bottle, the police, both of them if I am not mistaken, took their weapons out of their holsters, aimed in front of them, that is towards the place where I, Alexandros and the other person were, and three continuous shots were heard. I forgot to tell you that I am sure that one of the two police officers held his weapon with both hands. I saw then - and I am absolutely sure - that the police weren't shooting either towards the sky or towards the ground. They aimed towards our location and fired!

Alexandros fell down, if I am not mistaken on the first or second gunshot, surely anyways before the third... Afterwards, I didn't know what was going on. People were yelling and some people lifted up Alexandros' shirt. I saw that he had a hole in the middle of the chest and a little towards the heart. There was blood from the wound...

Let me tell you also that the police who fired, when they saw Alexandros fall, they left. I don't remember which direction... Then the ambulance came and took Alexandros, dead. I say this because he didn't have a pulse and there was blood coming from his mouth...

What light was there in the place where you described the incident?
Even though night had fallen, there was light from the street lamps on the poles which shines and also from the shops... Only one lamp wasn't working, to the left of Alexandros...

Do you want to tell us something else from everything you know?
The only thing I want to tell you is that they didn't kill Alexandros. They murdered him in cold blood...