Daily Israel Report

Police Camerawoman Who 'Taped the Sky' to Stand Trial

Policewoman Aliza Lederman videotaped a protest during the Disengagement but pointed camera away from police who badly beat a protester.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/29/2011, 1:52 PM

Orit Strook
Orit Strook
Israel news photo

Aliza Lederman, a police camerawoman, will face disciplinary charges over sins of omission she committed during a demonstration against the Disengagement in 2005. Lederman will be charged with intentionally pointing her camera away from a group of policemen who were beating a demonstrator without cause.

Video shows that her camera was pointed at the sky and at the ground while in the audio track, protesters are heard calling out to her: "Tape how they are kicking him in the head! Why aren't you filming?"

Orit Strook of the Human Rights in Yesha NGO praised Yair Ben David, the protester who was beaten up, for demanding justice for years and not compromising. It is as a result of his steadfast insistence, she said, the camerawoman will face trial.

The protest took place on the final day of the expulsion from Gush Katif. About 300 people took part in the protest. One of them was Ben David, then a resident of Alon Shvut, who came accompanied by his two brothers.

A commotion arose when a bus full of people expelled from Gush Katif stopped nearby. Police became more violent and, according to Ben David, he was pushed toward the police and they knocked him to the ground. They then surrounded him and began beating him.

Lederman was present and her camera was running, but she decided to videotape the sky, the road, and people's backs, but not the violence. For 3 1/2 minutes of the videotape, protesters can be heard and seen shouting at her, "Film that, not me." "Why don't you film that?" "Film him kicking his head," and "How can you be in the police?"

Ben David lost consciousness. He was later found to have suffered two fractures in his nose and contusions. He filed complaints against the policemen who beat him, and police filed a complaint against him, charging him with hitting and "biting" policemen.

Be'er Sheva District Judge Tali Chaimovich exonerated him of the charges against him. She also wrote in her verdict that throughout the video recording of the event, "demonstrators' shouts, or rather hysterical screams, are heard in the background… encouraging the policewoman to film, and protesting that she is not doing so."

The Department for Investigations of Policemen recently announced that it would put the camerawoman on trial. However, she will only face a disciplinary proceeding – not a criminal one.