Family members of 29-year-old George Zapantis, along with thousands of people in the US and around world, are demanding answers from the police about the incident that led to his death.
Zapantis was killed by police in New York’s borough of Queens on Tuesday night, after a neighbour misreported that he was carrying a gun inside his own home.
The 29-year-old who suffered from bipolar, was in his basement dressed as a gladiator and was carrying a samurai sword when police arrived at his house on 150th St just before 9:30pm.
When police entered the house, they ordered Zapantis to drop the sword, but when he refused to, they tasered him. As they attempted to handcuff him outside of the house, police tasered him again. It is suspected he died of cardiac arrest in an ambulance and was pronounced dead at New York-Presbyterian Queens hospital.
The cousin of the deceased, Marina set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.
"George Zapantis passed away on June 21, 2020. He and his heart of gold will be sorely missed. He is survived by his mother and sister who loved him very much. Please help the family with expenses during this difficult time. Any amount will be greatly appreciated. Please share this page, thank you," she posted on the George Zapantis Memorial GoFundMe page.
Marina later posted an update: "I am raising funds for his funeral, burial and other expenses related to his death in order to assist his mother Sia Zapantis and sister, Eleftheria Zapantis, whom is disabled, during this difficult time. My plan is to withdraw the funds from George's memorial fund and release them to George's surviving and immediate family."
The target for the GoFundMe page is $70,000.
Further, AHEPA Supreme President George G. Horiates issued the following statement:
As details and eyewitness accounts emerge about the tragic death of George Zapantis, of Whitestone, NY, we welcome reports that the NYPD's Force Investigation Division has opened an investigation into the circumstances leading to the incident. We echo the call of the family’s attorney in requesting full transparency from the investigation. If proper guidelines were not followed, we call for those officers responsible for Zapantis’ death to be held accountable.
Zapantis’ death is tragic, and we believe, could have been prevented.
A GoFundMe page has been set-up in memory of George Zapantis.
Our sympathies and prayers are with the Zapantis family. May his memory be eternal.