shahar mizrahi 311.
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The Israel Police and the Supreme Court embarked on a public confrontation on
Thursday, as the fallout continued over the court’s decision to double the
prison sentence of a Hadera police detective who shot dead a car thief in
Detective Shahar Mizrahi, 30, opened fire on Mahmud Gnayem, 24,
from Baka al- Gharbiya, after Gnayem failed to stop the stolen car he was
Cops stunned at Supreme Court ruling
Police defend conduct following tragic homicide
Mizrahi has argued that he acted in self-defense, and appealed
his 15 months prison sentence to the Supreme Court. He was stunned when the
sentence was doubled on Wednesday.
Widespread outrage in police ranks
continued to be expressed.
“We have major problems with low officer
morale, anger and frustration,” a senior police source told The Jerusalem Post
on Thursday. “Before the ruling, we had to think twice before opening fire in
life-threatening situations. Now, officers will have to think a hundred times in
a split second. This decision has changed the rules of engagement. No one
can stand in my shoes and decide that my life is not under threat,” the source
Former Northern District police chief Cmdr. (ret.) Dan Ronen, who
was Mizrahi’s superior at the time of the incident, told the Post the court
ruling sent a clear message to officers that the “state is not behind
them. It means the officer is alone against this legal process. It means
every officer will have to think twice before taking a risk. Police will be less
determined. The bottom line is that the public will pay the price,” Ronen
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“Mizrahi was on a mission to prevent car thefts. Thieves would
regularly come from the Wadi Ara region to Hadera and Pardess
Hanna. Officers waited for them, to preempt their
activities. Mizrahi had already been run over and hospitalized by a car
thief. So he wasn’t just fearful. He had experience with criminals who
ran him over,” Ronen stressed.
“Thirty months for this officer is way too
harsh a sentence,” he said.
Northern Police head Cmdr. Shimon
Mizrahi held intensive discussions with Hadera police detectives on Thursday,
urging them to “keep their heads up and continue to work,” a police source said.
Officers were also in discussions with senior commanders over the legal
significance of the ruling.
In a rare move, the Supreme Court released a
statement on Thursday afternoon defending its decision.
“The increase in
Mizrahi’s sentence was required to express the severity of the offense.
born out of an understanding that is indisputable; that police officers
subject to the law and are not above it,” the statement read.
shot Mahmud Gnayem dead after he tried to escape from the scene of a
car driven by Gnayem drove slowly and did not pose any danger to
life,” the statement continued.
Israel Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen and
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch vowed to seek a pardon for
from President Shimon Peres.
Aharonovitch also promised legislation aimed
at pardoning Mizrahi. “I won’t back attempts to seek a pardon. I will
them,” the minister said.
In a visit filled with symbolism, Cohen and
Aharonovitch visited another officer, Shlomi Asulin, at Sheba Medical
Rehovot policeman Sgt.-Maj. Asulin was stabbed in
January 2007 before he could open fire at his attacker. Asulin, then 27,
in Kiryat Malachi and had two preschool-age daughters at the time. He
remained in a coma, and his condition has recently deteriorated.
was unable to shoot in time,” Asulin’s father, David, said on
“Mizrahi was able to defend himself, and I admire him for his
actions. The legal system should back officers.”
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