PID to probe possible police false leak to harm teen’s reputation

A statement by PID said that the material being disseminated indicating that 18-year-old Solomon Tekah had a serious criminal record was false.

July 9, 2019 21:38
1 minute read.
PID to probe possible police false leak to harm teen’s reputation

Protesters with a sign saying 'State of Israel, Being black is a crime' . (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

The Police Investigations Department (PID) announced on Monday that it will probe whether members of the police or others illegally leaked true or false material claiming that 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli Solomon Tekah, who was recently killed under questionable circumstances by a policeman, had a serious criminal record.

A statement by PID said that the material being disseminated was false.

Tekah was killed by an off-duty police officer in Haifa last week under questionable circumstances and the police officer himself is already under criminal investigation.

The information that came out against Tekah appeared to be part of a coordinated public relations campaign to harm his reputation in order to try to help clear the police officer involved of any wrongdoing.

Late Sunday night, the head of the authority for combating racism, Avka Zana, called on PID to probe the leaks, with the implication that some of the information about Tekah might even be true, but that leaking such classified information would violate the law.

Zana had said that spreading the information against the deceased young man broke every redline and constituted a crime.

However, the PID statement on Monday seemed to indicate that some or all of the information put out against Tekah is false.

Zana added that those who distributed the information wanted to try to portray Tekah publicly as a guilty party to get the public to believe that the police officer shot him justifiably, as opposed to the officer going rogue and overreacting to a low-grade disturbance because Tekah was black.

Regardless of how true or false the information that has been disseminated may be, if it is private classified information, whoever leaked it could themselves face criminal charges.

The Ethiopian-Israeli community is up in arms over the shooting of Tekah, seeing it as another example of Ethiopians being killed by police under questionable circumstances, with the officers potentially suffering little consequences.

Since January 2018, when Deputy Attorney-General Shlomo (Mumi) Lemberger issued a directive for the PID and the state prosecution to be particularly careful about assessing discriminatory police behavior against Ethiopians, Zana has been vocal about flagging the issue when public controversies arise.

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