Daily Israel Report

Yitzhar: Police Face Serious Allegations of Brutality, Abuse

Mother files serious complaints against Judea-Samaria police unit, which allegedly taunted, abused her during dubious arrest.
By Uzi Baruch and Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 4/12/2014, 11:29 PM

Arrest (illustrative)
Arrest (illustrative)
Thinkstock

A resident of the community in Yitzhar in Samaria filed a complaint to the Jerusalem District Court last Thursday against a commander from the Judea-Samaria district police, the District itself, and the Israeli Prison Services. The resident is being represented by rights attorneys Itamar Ben-Gvir and Esther Weinstein Harpaz.

The plaintiff filed the complaint over alleged harassment she received during an arrest over involvement in the case of Boaz Albert, who was tasered and arrested outside the community in September. 

"About 80 meters before the gate to Yitzhar, the claimant faced huge stones [sitting in the middle of the road - ed.]," the complaint reads. Arab terrorists frequently place stones in the middle of the road outside Jewish communities, in attempts to prevent drivers from returning home - or, worse, to cause intentional injury and vandalism.

"The plaintiff succeeded in slowly pushing past the stones when the plaintiff was stopped by police for blocking the road. Suddenly, the car door was opened aggressively by a policeman, who the plaintiff now knows as Benny Malka, defendant 1, who yelled at the plaintiff and threatened to arrest her."

"The plaintiff was shocked and asked to be allowed to explain herself - she was taking her ten year-old daughter and two other children to a Torah class and just wanted to pass by," the claim continues. "But the defendant did not stop threatening, screaming and intimidating the plaintiff and even said, 'you will do what I say - I know there is no Torah learning group you're going to.'" 

The policeman allegedly paid no attention to the mother's pleas to let her pass and return home, where she had four other small children waiting. He even took a police megaphone and shouted into her ears, according to the complaint. He then allegedly demanded the keys to the car, and physically pinned the driver to the dashboard so hard that she could not breath - right in front of the children.

Several police officers later arrested the driver - despite the fact that she did not respond to the abuse - and nearly broke her hand in the process, in a deliberate act of police brutality, according to the complaint. The arrest was rough and her hands were bound very tightly, she alleges.

Then, the police officers taunted her over her leaving her children at home - and allegedly left her for an extended period of time without food or water in the police car as the unit stopped at a restaurant at Tapuah Junction before bringing her to the station. The unit also taunted her over her connection to the small Samaria community, and refused to return the keys to the car - which was not hers, but a neighbor's - for over two weeks. 

The mother was eventually taken to the Judea-Samaria District headquarters, and left handcuffed tightly for hours. One officer tried to release the cuffs slightly after asking the plaintiff if she was in pain, but a superior refused the request. She was later released and told she could return home, only to be arrested again. The plaintiff stated she was left with serious bruises as a result of the handcuffing. 

Later, she was allegedly taken to an interrogation room, where defendant #1 made wild accusations against her, saying she attacked an officer, tried to run him over, and disrupted the peace. The plaintiff, in the complaint, noted that she has discovered, sadly, that Israel is a "police state" - where someone can be arrested while she has sleeping children at home and interrogated for the crime of going to a Torah class. 

At the end of the interrogation, the plaintiff alleges she was taken to speak with the District commander, where she pleaded to be released back to her family. He refused the request and coldly handed her a document to sign over her own arrest, then threatened her with further legal consequences if she did not sign within sixty seconds - leaving her without time to read the document, according to the complaint.

After having mugshots taken and being fingerprinted, she was whisked away to the Russian compound in Jerusalem at 3:30 am. There, she says, she was subject to indecent searches which violated her modesty. Rights lawyers note that illegal searches at the compound have been conducted before on inmates viewed to be 'right-wing' - and that the police have been court-ordered to pay fines and provide compensation over the incidents.

As such, the plaintiff is suing the District Police, Benny Malka, and Prison Services for 80,000 shekels ($23,096) in compensation for false imprisonment, illegal searches, harassment, negligence, and so on. 

Ben-Gvir noted the importance of filing the complaint, in light of recent events in Yitzhar.

"Following the conduct of security forces in Yitzhar, and repeated violations, there is an urgent need to teach the police and IDF about civil rights," the attorney stated to Arutz Sheva Saturday night. "Yitzhar residents also have rights, and it is important that police know that violence and brutality have a legal 'price tag' - and that every illegal act will be brought to justice." 

"We cannot accept the degree of humiliation and violation of dignity [the plaintiff] suffered during the illegal search, not as a person and certainly not as a woman," Weinstein-Harpaz added. "Every woman needs to express shock at what they did to that resident of Yitzhar, because today it can happen in Yitzhar and tomorrow it can be anywhere."