The Central District Attorney is set to meet the family of hit-and-run victim Rafael Adana on Sunday, amid ongoing outrage and protests against law enforcement and prosecutorial conduct following the four-year-old boy's death, the Justice Ministry said on Thursday.
The family will meet with the district attorney to present their position and claims about the incident in which the child was struck by a driver while walking with his grandfather in Netanya in May. Walla reported Wednesday that the family had called for legislation for harsher punishments against those who commit hit-and-runs.
Critics have claimed that the police were treating the case lightly because Adana was of Ethiopian extraction. The district attorney said that it would share the status of the prosecution and show them documentation of the accident. The family had been allowed to review footage from cameras in the area of the incident, though the cameras had not been trained on the crime scene.
National Unity MK Pnina Tamano-Shata said that she was in contact with both the Adana family and the State Attorney, and said that she would make sure that justice would be done properly. The Knesset member said that the family had called for protests on behalf of the boy to disperse so that no one would be hurt.
"The pain over the late Rafael Adana, who was brutally run over and abandoned to his death, is great," said Tamano-Shata. "I embrace the family and the protest is very justified. With this, I call on the police and the young public who went out to demonstrate -- show self-control and restraint, and act only within the law and, God forbid, not violently."
A police officer had been stabbed during a protest in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, which erupted after reports spread that the driver would not be charged. Police had used stun grenades and water cannons against the demonstrators following the stabbing. Ten protesters were arrested and four police officers were injured in the exchanges.
Netanya mayoral candidate Avi Salma on Thursday sent a letter to the municipality demanding an emergency session over Adana's death, to offer the public complete transparency on proceedings.
The Central District Attorney's Office issued a series of responses on Tuesday to address rumors and reports about the investigation and prosecution.
Charges not dropped against offender
Reports that all charges against the driver were dropped were false -- the owner of the car, the driver's daughter, was not charged, but her mother who was driving the vehicle is going to be prosecuted with neglect. Prosecutors said that it wasn't a light charge, but a very serious offense, leveled for those who hit pedestrians with their vehicles and fled the scene. The driver was not prosecuted for homicide because the accident itself was unavoidable.
According to the grandfather's testimony, the child was on the road for less than half a second and occured where there was vegetation obscuring vision and no crosswalk. The driver was traveling under the speed limit, of 55 kilometers per hour. The grandfather's testimony was taken on the day of the offense, not as reported after the family's appeal.
The prosecutors said that videos were not released because it is not common practice to do so, they are materials in a case in which charges have not yet been issued. Against claims that the cameras didn't work, the district attorney's office said that they did work but weren't watching the spot where the accident happened.
Against the claims that the prosecutors weren't taking the case seriously, they said that the case had been handled like any other hit-and-run incident. The suspect was entitled to a hearing, a step that couldn't have been skipped on the way to an indictment.
Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.