*Bakari Henderson was a 22-year-old, and had just graduated from the University of Arizona.
A frequent traveler, Henderson, had decided to go to Greece where he was going to do a photo shoot for the new clothing line he planned to launch. Then last month, tragedy struck.
Bakari had been hanging out at a Serbian bar on the Greek island of Zakynthos when a waitress had asked him to take a selfie with her. According to the woman, a Serbian man had then proceeded to harass the two, asking her, “Why are you talking to a black guy?,” after which he punched Bakari in the face. CCTV footage taken of the incident shows a mob of around 10 people chasing the young man out of the bar making repeated attempts to attack him.
According to Greek police representative Theodore Chronopoulo, Bakari was beaten to death within the next 30 seconds.
“They kicked and punched him to his body and his head…His death came from hits in his head.”
Speaking publically for the first time regarding the incident, Bakari’s parents, Jill and Phil Henderson, told CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King about their thoughts and emotions following the tragic loss of their son.
Describing his reaction when he woke up in the middle of the night to find a missed call from the US Embassy on his phone, Mr. Henderson said:
“I was thinking maybe, ‘Okay, you found his wallet. He’s over there, and he’s tryin’ to get to another country. What’s goin’ on?’ So, when I called and I’m hoping, because it’s that night call, you know, you don’t want, so I’m just hopin’.”
Phil went on to lament the murder of his son as a “black American tragedy”, describing how Bakari had told him how he actually felt more comfortable as a black man in Europe than in his home country. Unfortunately it seems that even far from home; Bakari could not escape the long shadow of racism and ultimately paid for it with his life.
Currently nine men, including a club bouncer and an employee at the bar, are being held in custody with charges of voluntary manslaughter leveled against them.
For Bakari’s parents, justice is the only thing that can bring them any closure at this point.
“We want justice for Bakari…Justice would mean to have everyone involved … to be locked up and hopefully for a very long time.”
The family has hired a lawyer to fight their case when it goes to trial later this year, and a GoFundMe page dedicated towards raising funds towards legal fees, has already raised $100,000.