The mother of a mentally ill Queens man who suffered a fatal heart attack after he was tased by NYPD officers, is suing the city and the cops involved.
Athanasia Zapantis claims in her lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday, that a dozen officers used excessive force when they used the usually nonlethal tactic on her son, George last year.
“Why did they do the Taser? You do it maybe once. Put the hands in the handcuffs if you think he did something wrong. Why did they kill my son? They need to give me answers,” the devastated mom cried on Thursday. “I want justice for my son.”
George Zapantis, 29, was swinging a sword and dressed like a gladiator, wearing a helmet when cops arrived at his home on 150th St. near 20th Road in Whitestone on June 21, 2020, police said. He was tased, officers said, because he refused to drop the blade.
Police were called to the house by a neighbor who reported that George was armed with a gun, authorities said. No handgun was found.
Video shot by a neighbor shows officers blasting Zapantis, who was bipolar, with a Taser outside his basement door. Police said they also shocked him inside the home.
Zapantis barricaded himself inside his basement and called his mother at one point while cops were there.
“Mommy, the cops are outside,” Athanasia, 53, recalled her son saying.
The concerned mother phoned her aunt, who lives nearby, and asked her to check on George, but by the time she got there her was on the ground.
He later suffered a heart attack in an ambulance on the way to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Queens, where he died, cops said.
Athanasia said police haven’t given her any answers about what happened, saying only that the department’s Force Investigation Division is still probing the incident.
Every other day, she drives nearly an hour to visit her son’s grave and light a candle for him.
“I lost my beautiful son. He’s not home anymore. I miss him every day,” she shared.
The still-grieving mother said it would have been nice if then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Mayor de Blasio would have called her to offer condolences.
“I’m not asking them to take a side. Just a call to say, ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’” Athanasia said.
She looks forward to getting a chance to face the officers in court.
“I cannot wait to go to the freaking court and scream and yell at them. I cannot wait. I’m so angry. They supposed to be here to protect us, not to kill us.”