The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigation Department filed an indictment against police officer Moshe Cohen on Thursday, after the officer was seen on video violently beating an Arab truck driver in east Jerusalem last week.
Moshe Cohen, an officer in the police’s Special Patrol Unit is charged with assault, assault causing injury, and breach of trust. The breach of trust charge regards allegations that the officer illegally used his access to a police database to locate the complainant.
The incident occurred on March 23 in the Interior Ministry parking lot in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, where the officer confronted 48-year-old Mazen Shwiki. The officer accused Shwiki of hitting his private vehicle earlier that week and not leaving a note to pay for the damages. After a heated argument, where Shwiki said he did leave a note, Cohen head-butted, punched, and kneed the man in the groin. The officer then clashed with bystanders that attempted to break up the incident. At the end of the video the officer returns to Shwiki and kicks him in the back.
According to the indictment, Shwiki sustained a hematoma to his right eye and abrasions to his chest.
Two other officers, who were passing through the area, and arrived towards the end of the incident were not indicted, but the Justice Ministry recommend that their cases be examined by internal police disciplinary authorities, because they did not report the incident as required.
In a statement following the indictment Joint List Leader Ayman Odeh slammed the police. “The problem with the police is not just one violent officer or another, but a problem of racism and a culture of lying that has become an integral part of the system itself,” Odeh stated, “When the minister in charge of the police and the Police Commissioner engage in blatant racism against the Arab public and do not reject lies and incitement, it is no wonder that the commander's spirit reaches police officers who are using violence harshly against Arab citizens and residents.”