Israel Police Supt. Meir Swissa, who threw a stun grenade into a crowd of judicial reform protestors, was awarded a certificate of excellence on Thursday for his work in the police in the last year.
The decision was made ahead of police Independence Day events.
The certificate of excellence comes about a month after he was videoed throwing a stun grenade into a crowd at a protest against the judicial reform in Tel Aviv. As a result of the incident, Swissa and five police officers were investigated by Internal Affairs. At the end of the investigation, the five other police officers were released while Swissa remained under investigation.
Immediately after the incident, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir spoke out against the Department for Investigation of Officers, backed up Swissa's actions and said that the moment police officers are under attack, they must act with the same policy that is used in protests of any race or religion. He also claimed the investigation was political.
The award was faced with backlash
"What is Superintendent Meir Swissa being awarded excellence for?" said MK Naama Lazimi. "For throwing a stun grenade at protestors? For an Internal Affairs investigation? For violent behavior?
"If this is how the police deal with violent officers, it's not a surprise that the reality is getting worse. This Sunday, I will hold a meeting on police violence and profiling. Among the participants speaking will be Shachar Mor, a worried citizen who went out to protest and ended up in the hospital. In my eyes, he's the one who needs to be awarded with excellence."
"It would be good if Israel Police would, instead of awarding prizes, focus on making arrests for the many complaints of specific threats to the lives of protestors against dictatorship," said a statement from protest leaders. "Awarding a certificate of excellence to a police officer who's under Internal Affairs investigation is very puzzling."