Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino on Sunday suspended the use of Taser guns by police pending the results of an investigation into the use of the device against Yitzhar resident Boaz Albert during his arrest.
Danino appointed an investigative team on Sunday to look at the actions of Yassam officers from the Judea and Samaria District police who arrested Albert on Thursday night for violating an administrative restraining order.
The team will also examine the general use of Tasers by police.
MK Miri Regev (Likud) applauded Danino’s decision and asked him to send the results of the investigation to the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, which she chairs.
The IDF issued a restraining order against Albert, which mandated that the father of six stay away from Judea and Samaria for half a year, even though he lives in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.
Albert violated the order and returned home. Yassam officers broke into his home in Yitzhar on Thursday night.
In front of his children they dragged him across the floor, and while he lay on his back they shot him in the chest with the Taser gun.
A video of the incident was widely circulated on the Web and in the media.
On Sunday, Albert’s attorney Adi Kedar filed a complaint with regard to the arrest with the police’s investigatory division. He noted that it followed a complaint he filed with the police on Thursday immediately following Albert’s arrest.
Kedar asked that the officers involved in the incident be arrested.
“These officers are endangering public safety and the department has a responsibility to deal with this as soon as possible,” he said. “Placing them [the officers] behind bars while the incident is being investigated will speak for itself,” he said.
The judges in the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court and the Lod District Court, who released Albert from jail on Friday, agreed that the violence was unnecessary, Kedar said.
He added that the “outrageous” incident took place in front of Albert’s children and that police had also used the Taser gun on Albert’s brother.
Politicians on the Right and the Left spoke out against the use of Taser guns after viewing the video of Albert’s arrest.
“Boaz Albert’s violent arrest shocked me,” Regev said on Sunday in a post on her Facebook page. The use of the Taser gun against him was “unreasonable” and “humiliating,” she wrote.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said on Sunday that there is “no justification in the world to use this cruel weapon against a man who was not violent and did not endanger the four police officers facing him, who could have easily stopped him with their bare hands. Tasers are a weapon that has been proven to endanger human lives, and in recent years I wrote over and over again to the chief of police that they should only be used as a replacement for shooting guns and not in any other case,” she added.
Politicians on the Right and the Left have also argued that the IDF practice of issuing administrative restraining orders without judicial procedure or explanation must be changed.
Bayit Yehudi MKs Orit Struck, Mordechai Yogev, Zvulun Kalfa and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli have spoken out against restraining orders since Albert’s arrest.
Gal-On said, “Using administrative orders against settlers, Palestinians and anyone else is cowardly and contemptible and has become a regular method for avoiding a trial used by the military rule in the territories,” she stated. “If the government thinks Albert is involved in illegal activities, it must indict him and not behave like the secret police in Russia.”
As for Gal-On sharing a cause with MKs from Bayit Yehudi, on the opposite side of the political spectrum, she said it didn’t interest her that the man who was arrested is a settler.
At the same time, Gal-On criticized right-wing politicians for protesting Albert’s treatment but ignoring police brutality against left-wing activists, saying “their hypocrisy disgusts me.”
“The police are experts at using Tasers against settlers because they practiced on protesters in Sheikh Jarrah [in east Jerusalem], and I didn’t hear any [right-wing politicians] say a word about that,” Gal-On stated.
“I have been fighting for years for the army to stop administrative arrests of settlers just like I fight for the same thing for Palestinians who are jailed without trial, because the rule of law and justice should not depend on someone’s opinions or family origin,” she said. “This is everyone’s problem.”
Albert told Channel 2 on Sunday that he believed the use of administrative restraining orders was immoral and he did not intend to abide by the one issued against him.
According to Struck, a restraining order banning him from the West Bank was also issued against him in 2007.