police car 58.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A Karmiel police officer was indicted for allegedly striking an American-Israeli teenager in Karmiel last year after he was arrested, and two of his colleagues were charged with covering up the incident last week, the Justice Ministry announced on Sunday.
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The indictments came after an eight-month-long investigation carried out by the Police Investigations Department (PID) into a complaint lodged against police by the youth’s family.
The youth, S., was arrested by Karmiel police officers on November 18, and was accused of being in possession of a small amount of hashish and of “planning” to break into a home. His family say his only mistake was to urinate outside the front yard of his girlfriend’s neighbor as he waited for her to come home, prompting a suspicious neighbor to contact municipal security guards, who in turn called the police.
S. was allegedly subjected to police abuse and repeatedly gang raped by other juvenile prisoners at the Kishon Prison near Haifa, where he was held in custody. Three suspects are on trial for those alleged offenses, and proceedings are expected to resume in October.
During a special Knesset Interior Affairs Committee meeting held in February, the PID indicated that preliminary findings from its investigation support the teenager’s account of what took place.
In March, Northern District prosecutors dropped all charges S. following an appeal launched by the family’s attorney, Amir Melzer.
“Everyone in the family feels a certain sense of relief knowing that
justice is happening, as opposed to lip service,” said Lior, S’s
stepfather. “It’s critical that justice is being done. But there’s still
a long way to go.”
Melzer stressed that the officers had not yet been found guilty. He said
he was particularly disturbed by the charges that related to alleged
obstruction of justice.
“I hope S. will set up his family in Israel, not in the US. But he will
be scarred for life. As a father of children and a citizen of this
country, my heart misses a beat when I think about officers of the law
subverting the course of justice,” he said.
Describing the Israel Police as “one of the best law enforcement
organizations in the world,” Melzer said it was vital to ensure that
“the police is not polluted by such conduct.”
The case was first reported by The