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Police Officer Reprimanded, Fined for Teargassing Protester

A police commander has been reprimanded and fined for spraying tear gas at a resident of the Shomron community of Yitzhar.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/23/2012, 4:16 AM

Protester teargassed in Yitzhar
Protester teargassed in Yitzhar
Yesha Human Rights Organization

A police commander has been reprimanded and fined for spraying tear gas for no reason at a resident of the Shomron community of Yitzhar.

The ruling, handed down by a court earlier this week, imposed a 5000 shekel fine on the commander, Ilan Malka.

The incident in question occurred during the ten-month freeze on Jewish construction which Israel applied in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem in 2010. Police officers came to Yitzhar to enforce the freeze and local residents tried to passively block the path of their car as they were taking away a resident they had arrested.

Malka decided, without any reason, to spray tear gas at one of the protesters who had been lying handcuffed on the floor. Earlier, he gassed another protester who was lying under the wheels of the police car in an attempt to prevent it from moving.

The Yesha Human Rights organization, headed by Orit Strook, filed a complaint over the incident with the Police Investigation Unit. The complaint read, “The protesters did not act violently, did not endanger anyone, and could have been dispersed without any use of crowd dispersal means. Therefore, it was forbidden to gas them, certainly not at point blank range as was done.”

Strook emphasized the police rules for riot dispersal which state that use of tear gas is permitted only when there is violence at a certain level which did not take place in this particular incident. In any case, Strook noted, tear gas should not be used at point blank range.

The judges convicted Malka of perjury and of causing a subordinate to commit perjury. Malka persuaded his subordinate, officer Aviv Shohat, to write a report falsely describing Malka’s as being done according to protocol.