A protest in Haifa on May 20, 2018, against Israeli actions on the Gaza border and alleged police brutality..
(photo credit: JOINT LIST)
The Police Investigations Department announced on Tuesday it will likely file an indictment against a policeman for breaking the knee of an Arab-Israeli activist after arresting him during a Haifa protest in May.
Policeman Lior Hatam, who was forced to take leave shortly after the incident, will still get a pre-indictment hearing to try to convince PID to back off of charging him with attacking, threatening and causing bodily harm to Jafar Farah.
At the time, Farah demanded an apology from the police and also referred to additional alleged police brutality at the same protest which was made against the state’s policy of dealing with the ongoing Gaza border crisis.
“Three police officers attacked detainees in front of other commanders and policemen, two of whom threatened the medical staff at Bnei Zion Hospital,” Farah said in a May statement posted on the Mossawa Center’s Facebook page.
He said he expected the heads of the police force and the political echelon “to take responsibility for the culture of lies and violence practiced by the police.”
Accusing Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich of trying to hide the truth in interviews, he added: “I expect him and the district commander, the commander of the Haifa station and the commander of the Yasam to apologize to all the detainees who were arrested and beaten and humiliated with no legal basis.”
Meanwhile, in May the police said they were continuing to investigate the “violent behavior” of demonstrators “in order to get to the truth.” The police arrested 21 suspects during the protest for alleged public-order violations and other offenses. Most of the suspects were released soon after their arrest.
Arab-Israeli MKs from Meretz and the Joint List have been vocal and critical of police handling of the case and of police brutality to Arab-Israelis in general.
Hatam’s lawyers have sought to focus the criticism on the higher echelons of the police abandoning Hatam and others when they are following orders from their field commanders and dealing with complex situations.
Tamara Zieve contributed to this report.
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