Cracking Down on Police Brutality
Two violent policemen were fined today for their actions against nationalist protestors: A Border Guard policeman was fined 4,000 shekels for assaulting a protestor last year, and a police officer will pay a total of 14,500 for his actions in Amona in 2006.
The Amona case took place five years ago, when then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered large police and army forces to face off against hundreds of protestors on a hilltop above Ofra, in the Binyamin region, in order enable the destruction of nine Jewish houses.
The police violence employed at the time immediately became the subject of a nationwide uproar. Over 200 protestors were injured, and even the B'Tselem human rights group asked the Attorney General to order an investigation into what it called the "excessive police violence" during the evacuation/destruction of the Amona homes. B'Tselem also said that individual policemen must be investigated for acting with violence towards protestors who did not actively resist.
In today’s decision, Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Moshe Bar’am ordered policeman David Atiya to pay his victim, David Letvin, 10,000 shekels. Atiya is seen on a video helmet-butting Letvin, even though Letvin did not raise a hand to Atiya and was in fact walking away from him at the time. Atiya has already been ordered to pay Letvin 4,500 shekels in other rulings since he was convicted; the fines come from Atiya's own pocket.
In another courtroom today, the National Police Disciplinary Court ordered Border Guard policeman Tal Yemini to pay 4,000 shekels for brutally attacking a young protestor near Horon Base in the Shomron. The incident occurred on July 20, 2009; Yemini is seen in a video clip throwing the boy to the ground and then clawing his eyes and nose – though the boy had not employed violence. The boy was then arrested and charged with nothing other than “attacking a policeman.”
The next day, when he was brought before Kfar Saba Magistrates Court Judge Nava Bechor, she ordered him released immediately upon seeing a video of the events. “I received the impression that it was actually the suspect himself who was treated disproportionately by those who tried to arrest him,” Judge Bechor said.
The Yesha Civil Rights Organization, headed by Orit Strook of Hevron, then filed charges against the policeman in the Department for Complaints Against Policemen, together with the video clip, testimonies, and medical records of the injured boy. As a result, Yemini was charged with using force unlawfully. He himself confessed after he saw the video.