Tekah family: ‘Our cry will be heard from the ends of this land’

Warka Tekah, father of the killed 18-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli Solomon Tekah, said on Monday that ‘our cry will be heard from the ends of the earth,’ Channel 13 reported.

July 8, 2019 21:37
3 minute read.
Tekah family: ‘Our cry will be heard from the ends of this land’

A protester holding a sign saying 'It could happen to me' as police officers walk by . (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

Some 300 protesters peacefully marched through the streets of Tel Aviv on Monday night following the findings from a ballistics report released earlier in the day. The report confirmed that the bullet fired by an off-duty police officer, killing 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli Solomon Tekah last week in Kiryat Haim, was fired at the ground and ricocheted upward before hitting Tekah.

The ballistics report, a pathological examination of Tekah, testimony from witnesses, and an investigation of the scene confirmed the officer’s version of events, the police announced Monday.

According to the evidence, it appears that the officer will not be charged with manslaughter as was initially thought. The Police Investigation Department (PID) is expected to finish the investigation in the next few days. Overnight Sunday, police reenacted the incident that took place on June 30 and resulted in Tekah’s death.

Tekah’s family and their lawyers met with PID officers, including the head of the department, where they were presented with the findings. The Tekah family requested to receive findings from the examination and detailed updates on the proceedings of the investigation, as well as conclusions drawn. The decisions should be released in the coming days.

The Tekah family went to visit the grave of their son as the shiva period came to an end Monday.

“Our cry will be heard from the ends of this land,” said his father, Warka Tekah, Channel 13 reported.

The protesters later in the day, mostly women of Ethiopian origin, gathered at the Azrieli intersection in Tel Aviv and marched early in the evening down Ibn Givriol St. toward Rabin Square, calling for equality for Ethiopian-Israelis. There was no violence reported and roads were not blocked. A few dozen people also gathered at the public park in Kiryat Haim where the shooting took place.

The Ethiopian-Israeli community responded to Monday’s news by threatening to demonstrate in the streets until the officer who killed Tekah is indicted for the killing and the police remove him from service. Last Tuesday, the day after Tekah was killed, protests around the country turned violent, leaving more than 110 police officers wounded and 136 protesters arrested.

“We will not stop the protests until the current reality changes,” said members of the Tekah family. “When the police is briefing the media about Solomon’s criminal past, for us they murder him again. Let’s assume that he had a certain past, is that a reason to kill him? What is this, a criminal organization?”

Police warned that while it supports the right to protest, those who demonstrate must keep public order and refrain from violence. A police spokesperson stated on Monday that violence against police officers or citizens will not be tolerated.

Former and present police officers called for the PID to conduct itself in a dignified manner and not give into pressure from the protests.

“Support an esteemed officer who made contact after work hours and fired according to procedure, even if the incident ended tragically, to all of our sorrow,” said the officers. “We are upset by Solomon’s death, but this isn’t meant to lead to a direct strike on the police officer who was attacked and whose life was in real danger.”

Commenting on the night of the incident, the police said that the officer saw a group of people fighting and was attacked when he attempted to break up the fight. According to the officer, he felt that his life was in danger so he pulled out his pistol and shot at the ground; the bullet ricocheted and hit one of the boys.

He was detained the following morning for questioning, but released to house arrest several hours later.

Alon Hochmon/Maariv and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

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