Officer punished for diplomatic incident

Allegedly beat envoy's wife while trying to detain a supposed foreign worker.

By YIGAL GRAYEFF
February 9, 2006 20:51
1 minute read.

 
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A police officer who allegedly assaulted Reina Cohen, the wife of the ambassador of the Dominican Republic, has been transferred from his post while an internal investigation is conducted into the incident. The officer had suspected that one of the household staff of Ambassador Leonardo Cohen was an illegal foreign worker. On Sunday morning, two police officers entered the grounds surrounding the ambassadorial residence and demanded to see the documents of the housekeeper. Reina Cohen objected to the presence of the police, who had no legal right to enter the diplomatic terrain without permission. The police asked to see the employee's passport and working papers, and, seemingly satisfied, turned away. However, a short time later, when the employee, who is a citizen of the Dominican Republic, ventured beyond the gate to throw out the trash, the police pounced on her. Hearing the commotion, Cohen, who had been in the garden, rushed outside with a gardening tool in her hand and tried to pull the employee free. The police, apparently believing that she was going to attack them, grabbed her by the throat and allegedly beat her and kicked her in the knee. She fell, and one of the policeman was about to handcuff her when she screamed that she was the ambassador's wife. It was only then that the police realized that they may have caused a diplomatic incident, and they backed off. According to the ambassador's secretary, there was a plaque outside stating that this was the residence of the ambassador. The police should therefore not have entered the grounds of the residence in Herzliya Pituah at all. When Reina Cohen, who required medical treatment, notified her husband of her ordeal, he contacted the Foreign Ministry, which lodged a complaint with the Immigration Police. In her own country, Cohen, who is a lawyer, a social worker and a prominent civil rights activist, would have taken up the matter herself. A police spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post that the officer in charge, a commander in the Immigration Police had exercised bad judgment and "didn't use his common sense." The same officer had also been involved in a previous incident in which his judgment was flawed. His superiors decided on the basis of these two grave mistakes to transfer him, but no punishment is to be determined until after the completion of the investigation.

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