Suicidal woman verbally abused by police officer takes her own life

"You are an idiot who wants to commit suicide - kill yourself quietly already," said a police officer in a call with a 20-year-old woman.

Calls to a mental health hotline in Israel doubled during the recent crisis, with many callers expressing anxiety about conditions within Israel. (photo credit: GETTY IMAGES/JTA)
Calls to a mental health hotline in Israel doubled during the recent crisis, with many callers expressing anxiety about conditions within Israel.
(photo credit: GETTY IMAGES/JTA)

A young woman from Beersheba committed suicide weeks after Israel Police laughed at her and told her "kill yourself already," N12 reported on Friday.

The 20-year-old, identified as T., had experienced suicidal thoughts and had requested psychiatric help but had not received a response. She then tried to call police, saying that she intended to commit suicide and asking for help being referred to a district psychiatrist.

In the phone call with police, a police officer jumped into the call saying "God still has not taken you? God-willing he'll take you soon."

"You are an idiot who wants to commit suicide - kill yourself quietly already. We are on our way, idiot. Stay there," added the officer as another policewoman laughed, according to N12.

"If a large public body like Israel Police behaves in such a disgraceful way, what am I supposed to think?" said T. to N12. "It cannot be that the police behave so callously. It's just a disgrace that I have no one to turn to. Who should I contact?"

Israel police car (Illustrative) (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Israel police car (Illustrative) (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

"I cried. There were tears in my eyes," she said. "I asked for help and she laughs? What's funny about me asking for help, and him telling me 'go commit suicide'? I felt alone. I sat alone and cried."

"We take the conduct of the police officer very seriously," Israel Police told N12 in response to the report. "This is conduct that is inconsistent with police values and the norms of behavior expected of any police officer. Accordingly, the district commander instructed that he be immediately removed from his position and to initiate proceedings to examine the continuation of his service in the organization."

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev expressed outrage at the police officer's behavior, tweeting "In memory of T. from Beersheba, I will work so that things will be done different and look different. Gone are the days when the responsibility is only on the shoulders of the policeman on the frontline. A commander under whose command a policeman will turn his back on a person in distress will also be held accountable."

Adi Weinstein, a friend of T.'s, told N12 that "all the people who tried to help her, I can tell you that today they are broken...They don't understand how this happened, even though it was so foreseen."

"They didn't understand that this was an emergency situation, they thought maybe that this was a little attention, a little cry for help, but they didn't think that it was really serious," Weinstein added.

A number of hotlines are available for those seeking help, including ERAN which can be reached by dialing 1201 (in Hebrew, English, Russian and Arabic) or through an online chat here.

Get Help Israel and Kol Zchut are among some of the sites containing English-language information on how to access psychological and emotional help.