Lod cop indicted for lying about witnessing murder

Police investigative unit of the Justice Ministry issued the indictment against Eliyahu Levi; also allegedly made up heroism-under-fire story.

May 13, 2013 23:52
2 minute read.
Israel Police officer [file]

Israel Police officer 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

A Lod police officer who was once hailed as a hero after he claimed to have chased down a masked gunman in the crime-plagued city, was indicted on Monday at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, for allegedly making the whole story up.

On Monday, the police investigative unit of the Justice Ministry issued the indictment against Eliyahu Levi on charges of issuing a false report and obstruction of justice, saying that he falsely reported that he was an eyewitness to a murder and gave false testimony that included a depiction of the murderer and a claim that the man shot at him, even though the man never opened fire at him.

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The indictment reads that Levi, who at the time was the head of a team of detectives at the Lod Police, was at the Lod police station on June 13, 2011, when he heard shots fired. Levi was the first officer to arrive at the scene and, according to the indictment, later testified that he saw the shooter and the weapon he used and gave a description of the shooter.

The indictment continues that Levi’s testimony, given on the night of the killing, was taken seriously because he was a police officer, and he was treated as one of the central eyewitnesses in the investigation.

The indictment says that Levi testified that he saw the suspect pass the station in a car with people known to police and that they appeared suspicious.

Levi said that he began to follow the car and then saw the murder take place before his eyes. In fact, according to the indictment, Levi saw the suspect’s car pass the station, but then returned to the station, and only after a few minutes, when he heard shots, did he leave and run toward where the shooting occurred, on Katznelson street not far from the station.

Levi had told investigators that when he arrived at the scene, he saw the shooter get out of the car with a large gun in his right hand and put on a mask, before shooting the victim at point-blank range.

Levi said he approached the man with his gun drawn, shot in the air, and that the man shot at him several times, and a gunfight ensued. The man then fled and Levi gave chase, while the man fired back at him. None of this happened, the indictment reads, adding that Levi heard the shots from the station, and arrived at the scene after the shooter left.

In the incident in question, Hadra Abu-Gariba, 45, was sitting outside her home with friends when members of a rival family opened fire at the group, killing Gariba and seriously wounding her husband and two children, in one of a series of murders that shocked Lod.

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