MOJ: Police Taser use legal in arrest of West Bank settler Boaz Albert

Controversy surrounds video of Israel Police tasering the settler while he lay on the floor without resisting arrest.

November 26, 2013 14:40
2 minute read.
Yitzhar resident Boaz Albert seen dragged across the floor by Border Police.

Yitzhar resident Boaz Albert arrest 370. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)

Border Police acted legally when using a Taser gun during the controversial arrest of West Bank settler Boaz Albert in August, the Justice Ministry announced on Tuesday.

This conclusion came following a three-month investigation into the matter, and Adi Kedar, Albert’s attorney, said he planned to appeal the decision.

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Albert’s story made headlines in August after a YouTube video showed how officers shocked an unresisting Albert as he lay on the floor of his kitchen in the Yitzhar settlement.

In response to the video, in August police suspended the use of Taser guns in regards to short-range electric shocks, even though the weapons can still be used to shoot electric darts at wanted suspects.

The Justice Ministry’s Department to Investigate Police actions issued a statement on Tuesday that backed the Border Police who had arrived at Albert’s home to arrest him – for violating an administrative restraining order that banned him from the West Bank, where he lives with his wife and six children, for six months.

In October, Albert was also indicted for alleged involvement with another settler for harassing a bus of Palestinian schoolgirls in retaliation for the April 30 murder of Evyatar Borovsky.

According to the Justice Ministry, police are allowed to taser someone who is passively lying on the ground resisting arrest in certain circumstances, such as those in this incident.

Even before police arrived at Albert’s door, they expected resistance from him and his supporters, according to the DIP report.

As a result, officers crawled to his house in the dark of night to avoid detection until the last possible moment, the DIP said. Even so, the ministry said, stones were thrown at the officers outside Albert’s home. Once the officer entered the home, Albert initially resisted arrest by running into different parts of his caravan home, until he was cornered, the ministry said.

Border police used the Taser gun to subdue Albert so they could move him out of the house and leave the area quickly to avoid additional attacks by Albert’s supporters, the ministry said.

It also charged that the YouTube video had been edited and that the footage was portrayed out of context.

The intense sound of the tasers in the videos was artificially increased and makes it appear as if the Taser use against Albert was more prolonged than it was, the ministry said.

The ministry added that images of settlers throwing rocks at police were not included in the video.

Based on all of the above, the statement said the investigation into the incident had been closed for lack of a crime for which the police involved could be charged.

Kedar said the DIP’s response is standard for that unit, which often makes conclusions that are vastly different from reality.

The nation can now judge for itself how the DIP supports police violence and allows civilian blood to be shed, Kedar said.

Albert’s wife, Irit, added that police had used the Taser gun on her husband in front of her and her children and blamed the “barbaric act” on the individual officers and their commanders.

Even before the Taser incident, Albert had actively protested the police use of restraining orders against Israelis in Judea and Samaria.

Since his arrest in August, Albert has again violated the restraining order. He is now in prison and has refused to sign a document pledging not to violate the order.

Ben Hartman and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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