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Police turn a blind eye to violations of former minister

10 January 2012 / 13:01:57  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova


Over the past two years much has changed in Greece. But apparently many others things have remained the same. At least this is what the occasional experience of a group of policemen shows when enforcing the law for the violations of the former minister in the government of PASOK Kimon Koulouris.

The sentence "Do you know who I am" has obviously not been forgotten by some “old school” politicians who can not even think they are equal with all other citizens in the country. The story is as follows.

In the early hours after midnight, a police patrol car saw a large luxury car racing at high speed on a central Athens avenue. Officers began chasing the car, whose driver, according to them, jumped at least three red lights. They managed to stop him at the junction between the Kalirois and Vouliagmenis avenues. According to their story the former minister refused to open the door of the vehicle and said he was not carrying any identity document on him. Then he turned around in the car and visibly angry said he would leave. The four policemen stood in front of the car and said this was impossible. Kimon Koulouris, however left and went with his car over the legs of one of them.

Although it is still not quite clear what happened, one of the most powerful politicians some years ago was taken to the section of the Traffic Police in the Athens district of Kesariani, where he was tested for alcohol, and the result was negative. It turned out however that Kimon Koulouris’ driver’s licence had expired two years previously. Proceedings have been initiated against him for causing a traffic accident, which according to the modified traffic regulations is a violation of the lowest degree, and therefore he was not arrested.

This mildly tolerant behavior of the police authorities towards the former minister, who doesn’t stop complaining that "my life is being destroyed because of a red light" caused a lot of negative comments. The incident awakened also some old disputes between the police trade unions. The trade union organization of the special guards, one of whom was injured responded quickly with an angry message. GRReporter contacted the President of the union in the region of Athens area Vassilis Dumas.

"In practice it all comes down to a citizen who refuses to cooperate with the police during an inspection, swears at its representatives and at a certain point injures with his car a special guard - our colleague. We were notified about the case and traced its development, which for us generated many questions. And I think that they coincide with those of the public opinion.

Our opinion is that because the offender is a politician and former Minister, the attitude of the authorities towards him was not the same as it is towards any other Greek citizen. Saying this I do not refer to our colleagues who stopped the car. Their actions were completely accurate. I'm talking about the police officers who started the preliminary investigation.

They are viewing the case as a traffic accident, which really is not reviewed through express judicial proceedings. The perpetrator, however, has resisted and refused to cooperate with the police. For such actions, the law provides for activation of express judicial proceedings."

The special guards doubt that the incident in which their colleague was injured is indeed an accident, as described in the official report of the police or the result of the attempt of Kimon Koulouris to avoid inspection. "This is a question asked by each citizen in the country. It appears that the orders of senior police representatives were intended to protect the reputation of the person. Thus, they deprive us of the respect of citizens. They will protest against the measures, which they will have to undergo by law, considering that those measures were not applied against this specific citizen."

According to Vassilios Dumas police insist that the only "sin" of Kimon Koulouris is the traffic accident, "apparently so as to avoid some liability that might follow. Nowhere in the official release is it mentioned that the citizen refused to be inspected and to cooperate with the authorities, although our colleagues describe this in their testimony."

The special guards believe that in this particular case and for no reason, the police present Greece once again as a country which cannot be trusted.

The injured policeman filed a complaint against Kimon Koulouris. The District Prosecutor's Office ordered the full investigation of the incident between policemen from the squads of DIAS and the former minister. According to police officers, he told the inspecting officer, that he was impolite. At the request of the law enforcement agents to submit his documents he responded "Don’t you know who I am," and then called them lazy little employees with salaries of 500 euro.

He, in turn, made a tour of the Greek media in an attempt to refute allegations of the police. According to Kimon Koulouris his car "did not even touch the 25-year old police officer. His diagnosis is sprain. Have you ever heard of a car crash causing only sprain?" he said and swore that his car has not even touched the policeman.

"My whole existence is being destroyed and my child is crying constantly because of jumping a red light," Kimon Koulouris said in a melodramatic tone of voice and blamed police for misconduct which scared his 15-year-old daughter, travelling with him. "They brought to me 30 policemen, as if they found the greatest terrorist."

According to his version, officers stopped him and he told them that he did not have any identity document with him. He stated his name and asked them if he could appear at their office, after leaving his daughter at home. They, however refused and did not even allow him to move his car away because they were standing in front of it.

After the tearful drama and high-statements by Kimon Koulouris, unused to behaving like an ordinary citizen, Greek society is awaiting with great interest the decision of the Court of Justice.

Tags: politics police investigation disobedience former Minister Kimon Koulouris prosecutor's investigation
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