A policeman caught on security camera footage beating an unarmed IDF soldier who is originally from Ethiopia will not face criminal charges despite the video evidence. The decision was made by Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein yesterday after both State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and the Police Investigation Unit recommended it.
Despite Video Evidence Of Police Brutality, Israel’s AG Decides Not To Prosecute Officer Who Beat Unarmed Ethiopian Jewish Soldier
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A policeman caught on security camera footage beating an unarmed IDF soldier who is originally from Ethiopia, Damas Pakada (also transliterated as Fekadeh, Fakadah, etc.), will not face criminal charges, Ynet reported. The decision was made by Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein yesterday after both State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and the Police Investigation Unit recommended it despite the video evidence.
However, the Israel Police Internal Investigation Unit recommended the case will be transferred to the Police Disciplinary Tribunal to examine the police officer's conduct – which is allegedly meaningless because the officer was already fired by the head of Israel police subject to a hearing.
The Ministry of Justice claimed the evidence showed that "after the policeman asked the soldier repeatedly to leave the site because of a suspicious package nearby, and the soldier refused and pushed the policeman, the policeman used force to remove the soldier. In response, the soldier punched the policeman and in return the policeman punched the soldier." The officer behaved "impeccably,” the Ministry of Justice insisted and denied any racism was involved.
But what the security camera footage actually shows (please see above) is a very brief encounter that escalates to violence within several seconds after the officer shoves Pakada’s bicycle and then shoves Pakada, who then pushes him in response. Pakada is then attacked by the officer who hits him. Pakada runs away but is chased by the officer and a police volunteer who catch him and beat him – even though he clearly isn’t resisting.
The behavior of the officer is so clearly egregious it is hard to imagine him not being prosecuted, and behavior like this is simply not tolerated in Western democracies.
In a statement reported by Ha’aretz, Israel Police said the officer was already on probation when the incident occurred.
"The Police Investigation Unit's decision to transfer the case to the disciplinary department is irrelevant as the disciplinary process has concluded with the policeman's dismissal," the police statement reportedly said. It also noted that the decision to fire the officer was based on the severity of the charges against him, the evidence, and the officer's service record. "The police officer was on a trial period and the incident in the video was just one component that lead to his firing," the police statement noted.
The police volunteer who participated in the beating was also dismissed from the force, police said.
While the head of Israel Police condemned the officer’s conduct, many police officers themselves lashed out at the Ethiopian community and Israel state prosecutor failed to take steps against the officer that would likely have been taken if Pakada was white.
"I'm deeply disappointed by the law enforcement bodies, and in general by the policeman and the Attorney General," said Pakada reportedly said after the decision was made public.
The video of the police assault on Pakada sparked a series of protests by Ethiopian Jews, who have for decades complained of police brutality and of wider discrimination in academia and business against them.
Pakada's attorney, Eyal Abulafiya, will appeal the decision.
"It's a bizarre decision that is full of internal contradictions, and it's pretty obvious from the decision what the Attorney General thinks about the man seen giving the beating in the incident. It looks like there's an attempt to appease the police officer population. Did those who made the decision see what the public saw or another video?” Abulafiya said, calling the incident racist and police brutality which gives Israelis a rare glimpse "into a regular habit, which is wrong to the core, that happens frequently in the Israeli Police, who use violence against civilians, make false accusations, and more."
Pakada is suing police for NIS 390,000 (about $100,000) plus legal expenses.
Prominent Ethiopian Jewish activists told the media that the Ethiopian Jewish community’s protests against police brutality and discrimination will now resume.