Aryeh Hershkopf of Jerusalem has filed a lawsuit seeking 100,000 shekels in damages from Gilad Mizrachi, a special forces (YASAM) policeman who beat him badly in 2007.
The incident took place when Hershkopf was standing on a Jerusalem rooftop, videotaping a confrontation between police and a group of hareidi-religious men in the street below. The hareidi men had been protesting against a pro-homosexuality march
through the Holy City.
Mizrachi climbed to the roof together with several other policemen and asked Hershkopf what he was doing there. Hershkopf, with his camera in his hand, told him that he had been videotaping the events. Mizrachi demanded the camera but Hershkopf refused, and asked Mizrachi by what authority he wanted to confiscate the camera.
Mizrachi reacted by pouncing on Hershkopf, punching him in the face and proceeding to beat him and kick him, even after he was down. After several minutes of abuse he ordered Hershkopf to leave the rooftop and refused to hand him back his glasses, which had fallen.
Hershkopf was dazed. He hobbled down the staircase to his brother's apartment, suffering great pain, bleeding from his nose and feeling dizzy.
Following the event, Hershkopf - who is also a hareidi-religious Jew - turned to the Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria, which took his case along with Attorney Alon Yefet. The NGO assisted Hershkopf in filing criminal charges against the policeman, which ended in Mizrachi's conviction in 2010. The court determined that in attacking Hershkopf, who was alone and unarmed, Mizrachi had "turned from the guardian of the law to the lawbreaker." It found him guilty of assault that caused bodily harm and obstruction of justice.
The Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria and Attorney Yefet assisted Hershkopf in filing the civil lawsuit as well.
Orit Strook, resident of Hevron, who heads the organization, said: "It is important that policemen understand that the power given to them by law must only be used when there is need for it, and not as a way to calm their nerves."