Police officer to be tried for brutality

Officer to be brought before tribunal for striking prone teenager at a protest against treatment of Duma arson suspects.

Orly Harari,

Police officer to be tried
Police officer to be tried
Photo: Yitzchak Markowitz

A police officer will be brought before a disciplinary tribunal on charges of excessive use of force, after a complaint filed with the Police Investigations Department (PID) of the Justice Ministry by the Honenu organization, representing a minor that the officer had beaten.

Honenu is a group dedicated to providing legal assistance to people who feel they're being treated unfairly by the justice system.

The incident occurred six months ago at a protest against the interrogation methods used by the Shin Bet in investigating the Duma arson. A 15-year-old minor who was taking part in the protest was grabbed by three policemen and bodily forced into a police car. The aforementioned police officer then came over and slapped the minor in the face; this without reason as the teen was already prone in the car and had no way of defending himself.

The minor appealed to Honenu for help, and they in turn filed a complaint with the PID and a civil suit for 32,000 NIS.

"It appears the state is speaking out of both sides of the mouth," representatives of the organization said, "in the response to the civil suit, the State Attorney's Office denied that the officer had slapped the boy, whereas the PID have said that he did use excessive force and will be brought before a tribunal."

Attorney Menashe Yado of Honenu - who is representing the minor - has requested that the PID make the findings of the investigation available to him so that he can examine the possibility of demanding that the officer be tried on criminal charges.

Attorney Yado told media that "we intend to examine why the police officer is not being prosecuted, because in a time when police brutality is on the rise enforcement against violent officers should be made more stringent. We are sorry to see that while the PID admits the officer's culpability, the State Attorney's Office is denying it, and is recommending the allocation of taxpayer funds to defend him. We advise the State Attorney's Office to reexamine matters thoroughly and establish healthy, clear guidelines for the defense of police accused of crimes."