border police 88.
(photo credit: )
A border policeman who allegedly shot and killed an Israeli-Arab is still serving in the police force despite an announcement by the Police Investigative Department (PID) that it intended to file an indictment against him on manslaughter charges, The Jerusalem Post has discovered.
Officials in the Justice Ministry-run PID confirmed that the border policeman, who is close to completing his mandatory military service, was still in active police duty and had not been suspended. The PID officials stressed that the decision not to suspend the policeman was made not by them but by the police.
The border policeman, whose name was not released, shot and killed Samir Rivhi Dari a 32-year-old resident of the east Jerusalem village of Isawiya last month. Dari, a father of three, was killed in what was supposed to have been the routine arrest of his nephew - a suspected car thief. Border policemen told PID investigators that Dari tried to run them over with his car and that they shot at him out of self defense. After collecting eyewitness accounts however and following Dari's autopsy PID investigators discovered that Dari had been shot in the back and had not made any attempt to run over the policemen. Following the shooting, dozens of youths hit the streets in protest and hurled rocks and firebombs at the nearby French Hill neighborhood.
Border Police Spokeswoman Ch.-Supt. Sarit Philipson said that the border policeman involved in the incident had been expelled from his combat unit but confirmed that he was still in uniform, retained his police authorities and was working in an administrative post at Border Police Headquarters in Jerusalem. In addition, the border policeman in question has been granted a special hearing with head of the PID - attorney Herzl Shviro. The hearing, PID officials said, was to give the suspect the chance to explain his version of what transpired the night of the shooting.
"This is scandalous," Arab MK Ahmed Tibi told The Post. "By allowing him to continue serving as a policeman and by granting him a hearing with the PID head, the police are sending a clear message that it is permissible to kill Arabs."
Dari's wife's attorney Mohammed Dahla said he was shocked by the way the police were clearly covering up for the suspect. "This is a conspiracy," Dahla said. "And the only explanation is that the victim was an Arab."
Dahla said he had yet to receive the name of the border policeman despite repeated requests to the PID. "This whole story is strange," he said. "Firstly why won't they give me his name? Secondly, why hasn't he been indicted yet? And thirdly why is he still serving in the police force and getting a prize in the form of a hearing with the PID chief?"
The only explanation, Dahla said, was that the victim was an Arab and his "blood could be spilled freely."
The border policeman, described by his officers as an "excellent soldier," has hired former justice minister David Libai to represent him at his upcoming hearing with Shviro. At the hearing, Libai told The Post, he planned to argue what the border policeman had claimed ever since the shooting - self defense.
Tibi said that this case followed a long list of PID cover-ups which included the department's decision in September not to press charges against police officers in connection with the deaths of 13 Arabs during October 2000 riots in the North.
"The PID is not objective and is made up of former police officers who cover-up for one another," the Arab MK said. "The PID needs to be dismantled and in place the Justice Ministry needs to establish a civilian unit that will objectively investigate the police."