Officers won't stand trial for injuring Arab MK during riots

Investigation finds police actions in riot where Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh was injured not criminal.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

MK Odeh hurt in Umm al-Hiran
MK Odeh hurt in Umm al-Hiran
Police spokesperson

The director of the Police Internal Investigation Department (IID )has decided Thursday to shelve the investigation into clashes between police officers and civilians near the shooting incident that took place during the evacuation of Umm al-Hiran in January 2017.

In the context of the investigation of the case, allegations were made of unnecessary use of pepper spray against MK Ayman Odeh and others who were in the area, as well as a complaint of injury by MK Odeh and another person as a result of the firing of a rubber bullet at them by the police.

After examining the investigation material, it was decided to close the file regarding the use of pepper spray, on the grounds of lack of guilt, and regarding the injury of MK Odeh and the other person, in the absence of sufficient evidence to commit an offense.

The department determined that the events in the case in question took place a few minutes after the incident in which the late Erez Shaul Levi was shot to death, and the late Yaakov Elkian was shot dead at night, when the policemen acted on the assumption that the incident was a terrorist attack.

A statement issued by the Border Police said that in the background there was another shooting, rather than a police vehicle, and that this event was perceived as a security incident.

"At this delicate point in time, MK Odeh and other people tried to approach the scene of the vehicle incident, contrary to the instructions of the policemen, who explained to them that a security incident had taken place and that they should not approach the arena. The arena, in a confrontation with the police, which included an exchange of words and even the impulses that the civilians repulsed the policemen. "

The IID said that during the confrontation, after MK Odeh and the other people did not obey the policemen's orders, one of the policemen sprayed pepper spray at the demonstrators, including MK Odeh.

"The policeman who sprayed the pepper gas, as stated, was located in the interrogation and was interrogated under warning by the Department for the Investigation of Police. The evidence shows that at this point in time, the policeman estimated, as everyone in his surroundings estimated, that the scene was dangerous," the decision stated.

According to the evidence, at first there were attempts to block the progress of Odeh and others, without the use of force. However, as stated above, MK Odeh and the other demonstrators clashed with the police, verbally and physically, and did not vacate the location. Only then did the police use the pepper spray, and it was found that the policeman's decision to use it was not an offense under the circumstances. Unauthorized and unwanted entry into the scene.

The case on this matter will be shelved as a result of lack of guilt. The IID decision further states that "shortly after MK 'Odeh and the other people went back after the spray was used. MK Odeh and another person were injured as a result of being struck by an object. MK Odeh claimed that he was struck by a bullet."

"The opinion of the Institute of Forensic Medicine determined that the injury caused to MK Odeh may be settled with injury from falling or injury from a blunt object, and in light of the location of the injury - in the forehead and back of MK Odeh - it is more likely that the injury was caused by a blunt object. The opinion stated that it may have been a rubber bullet, but this can not be clearly determined. Therefore, it is not possible to rely on the opinion of the Institute of Forensic Medicine when it stands alone, in order to establish a basis for the cause of the creation of the sabotage.

"The investigation indicates that sporadic bullets were indeed fired in the area, but that no real evidence was found of the use of rubber bullets near the site where MK Odeh and the other person were injured."

During the course of the incident, stones were thrown at the policemen. It was also found that during the incident, the policemen used stun grenades and that the use of stun grenades was lawful. In light of the opinion of the Institute of Forensic Medicine, which was detailed above, according to which the injury is likely to be a blunt object, these factors can not be ruled out as possible causes of injury.

Moreover, during the interrogation, no evidence was found indicating a policeman who fired or threw a stun grenade at MK Odeh and the other person.

"As stated, there is not enough evidence to claim that the injuries were caused by a bullet.Therefore, it was decided to close the file on this matter in the absence of sufficient evidence to commit an offense, "the IID decision stated.

The chairman of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, said in response: "The IID again excels in whitewashing and failing to prosecute violent police officers against civilians. We intend to demand that they disclose the full investigation material."