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Family Of Black American Killed In Greece Over Selfie In 2017 Still Waiting For Retrial

Though authorities claim he was beaten to death by a group of men over a selfie he supposedly took, Bakari Henderson's family believe he was murdered because of his race.

By Dorian Geiger
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The family of a Black American tourist who was attacked by a mob of men outside a Greek bar and beaten to death is still demanding justice five years after his life was taken.

Bakari Henderson, 22, was found dead outside a drinking establishment in Zakynthos in 2017 after several men chased him through the streets, encircled him and beat him to death in a matter of seconds. The altercation was captured by surveillance cameras.

According to Greek authorities, Henderson was attacked over a selfie he’d reportedly snapped with a bar waitress.

Henderson, a college graduate from Texas, was reportedly first punched by a Serbian man who was enraged that he’d taken the photograph with a server. A number of men then chased Henderson outside and allegedly beat him to death in under a minute, local authorities said.

Five Serbian nationals and a British man of Serbian origin, as well as a Greek man, were charged in the aftermath of the fatal attack and found guilty of deadly assault.

His family have long-maintained the attack was actually fueled by racial discrimination.

"Somebody getting beaten to death over a selfie? It just makes no sense," Henderson’s mother Jill, told CBS Mornings news anchor Gayle King during a televised interview that aired on Thursday. "It's very hard to imagine that people would have that much hate to do something [like that] to another human being."

In 2018, however, Greek prosecutors ordered a retrial on upgraded murder charges for six of the seven suspects, the Associated Press reported. The case has been postponed for years since then.

"It's been a lot of highs, but mostly lows trying to process the grief," Jill Henderson added during her CBS interview.

However, the Henderson family is now preparing to travel back to Greece to sit-in on proceedings in the approaching retrial.

"I just truly hope this time that they really view Bakari as a child of God and the human that he is ... as someone that could be their brother, their son, their grandson, their nephew, their friend," his mother also said. "I really want them to be able to understand that when they're doing the sentencing this time." 

Henderson, an aspiring fashion designer, had been in Greece promoting a new fashion line.

"I don't think they view us Black people the same as they do white people over there," his father, Phil Henderson told CBS. "And I felt that in the trial and in the results of the trial, that they treated and felt like he was less than a man."

Henderson’s friends had challenged the Greek authorities' narrative from the case’s early stages,

"He is not the type of guy who would get into a confrontation,” Astrid Von Ehren told PEOPLE.com in 2017. “What happened is unbelievable. He stopped confrontations. He was one of the last boys on earth who would do something like that. There is no way. It is such a tragic story.”

"He’s the kind of guy who literally makes friends anywhere he goes,” childhood friend John Gramlich also told the Associated Press in 2017. “It’s not in his character at all to be aggressive or instigate anything. He’s always the guy who is calming people down, really.”

Attempts to reach Henderson’s family independently on Friday were unsuccessful. 

Theodore Chronopoulos, a Greek police public information officer, also wasn’t immediately available when contacted regarding the case by Oxygen.com on Friday.