The parents of a young tourist beaten to death in Greece said their son was more comfortable overseas because of some of the racial tensions in America.
“He just felt it was safer over in Europe and overseas in general. He said with the climate for African-American males in the U.S. that he just felt more comfortable overseas,” Jill Henderson said during an appearance on CBS This Morning.
Her son, Bakari Henderson, was killed in July on the Greek island of Zakynthos — a hot spot for many tourists. Video from a nearby surveillance camera shows the 22-year-old traveler fleeing a mob of attackers in the seconds before his assailants force him to the ground.
He died from severe head injuries after the beating.
American tourist beaten to death by mob in Greece is laid to rest
When the Hendersons noticed a missed phone call in the middle of the night from the U.S. Embassy, they prayed their son was okay. Instead, they learned an altercation was sparked when a woman asked Bakari to take a selfie with her.
“Why are you talking to a black guy?” a Serbian man asked the woman before punching Bakari in the face, according to CBS.
Jill Henderson said it may not have been racially motivated to start off with, but still “resulted in a black American tragedy.”
An Austin-native and recent graduate of the University of Arizona, Bakari traveled to Greece for a photo shoot in an effort to kick off his new fashion line. His parents said they want nothing more than to keep his memory alive and intend to launch the venture for him.
“I really do want to remember him as a go-lucky, energetic, fun-loving happy, Bakari,” his mother told CBS.
“He just brightens up a room,” his father, Phil said before choking up a bit, going on to list his competitive energy as one the things he’s remember about his son.
Nine people — including a bouncer and bar employee — have been arrested in Bakari’s death and face voluntary manslaughter charges.
“We want justice for Bakari,” Jill Henderson said. “Justice would mean to have everyone involved… to be locked up for a very long time.”
Send a Letter to the Editor