Investigators of police: Closing file on tasering of Boaz Albert was model case

Justice Ministry report also discusses physical abuse charges against officers

By
December 5, 2013 00:19
3 minute read.
Yitzhar resident Boaz Albert seen dragged across the floor by Border Police.

Yitzhar resident Boaz Albert arrest 370. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)

 
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The Justice Ministry’s Internal Affairs Division for investigating complaints against police published a report on cases that it views as embodying its work, including the decision to close the case against the police who tasered settler activist Boaz Albert.

A statement referred to the report as the fifth edition of a journal dedicated to highlighting policy, guidelines and major developments for police across the country and the entire law enforcement community.

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With a primarily twopronged focus, the statement said the report seeks a balance of showcasing recent decisions against police to hammer home the division’s tough stance on cases of physical or sexual abuse by police, while also drawing attention to cases that were closed, to show the department will back police when appropriate so that they can feel able to enforce the law, including using force, when necessary.

On the backing police’s right and duty to use force where necessary, the report highlighted the complaints against the police who tasered Albert in August.

The tasering grabbed headlines partially because it was caught on YouTube and it appeared police were needlessly tasering Albert multiple times while he lay motionless on the floor presenting no active resistance.

The report recalled last week’s decision to close the case, noting that Albert was being arrested for violating an IDF order to stay out of the West Bank and that, in certain circumstances, police are permitted to taser someone who is passively lying on the ground to resist arrest.

Also, the report said that the police had encountered rock throwing from Albert’s supporters, that the video was edited and portrayed out of context and that the entire operation was on a tight time frame to avoid an extended confrontation or escalation with Albert’s supporters.



Besides the Albert case, the report highlights two cases of police being convicted for sexual abuse or violations.

In one case, a high ranking policeman was sentenced to eight years in prison for a variety of sexual assault and harassment violations against junior policewomen under his command.

The report noted the court’s emphasis on the policeman’s improper abuse of his seniority in age and rank as well as the general damage his actions did to the image of the police and the public’s faith in the institution.

Another case cited, involved a conviction of one of the top police commanders both for failing to transmit to Internal Affairs complaints from junior policewomen under his command against another senior policeman for sexually indecent acts.

The policeman was also convicted of perjuring himself during the investigation, with the court finding that he intentionally chose to try to coverup both the complaints of sexual indecency on top of his failure to report them.

Finally, the report addresses two cases of physical abuse.

In one case, Internal Affairs appealed a light punishment and obtained a harsher punishment for a police officer who repeatedly beat a minor who was already in custody under suspicion of causing disturbing noises.

There, the court noted that the officer repeatedly beat the minor in the drive to the police station and at the station – more than enough times to show it was not to arrest the minor and that it was not a momentary lapse by the officer.

In the second case, the policeman was exonerated on charges of beating an arrested suspect with a large flashlight.

Unlike the first case, this complainant substantially resisted arrest, including needing to be dragged out from under a car, which also provided a legitimate alternate explanation for his injuries.

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