Police officer charged with violence

25-year-old: He broke my jaw for no reason during a disengagement protest.

police violence 298 (photo credit: Avishalom Levy)
police violence 298
(photo credit: Avishalom Levy)
A Jerusalem police officer has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a man present at an anti-disengagement demonstration that took place at the entrance to the city last May. Avishalom Levy, 25, said Supt. Yehiel Amsalam attacked him for no reason and broke his jaw during the demonstration. "I was at the entrance to Jerusalem to visit my parents, who live close by, and not because of the demonstration," he said on Wednesday. In trying to disperse the demonstrators, who had blocked the road, Amsalam and other officers beat up a demonstrator who had shouted at them, said Levy. "The officer stood at the top of the flight of stairs by the roadside and shouted to the other policemen, 'Lethally hit everybody...kill everybody,'" said Levy. He climbed the stairs to read Amsalam's name tag, but when he was level with the officer's feet, Amsalam ordered him to go back down the stairs. "However, before I could do anything, the policeman kicked me in the face with all his might, causing me to fall down the stairs and onto the road," said Levy. He said he still had not totally recovered. "When I open and close my jaw there is a noise," he said, adding that his jaw still hurts. A police spokesman wouldn't permit an interview with Amsalam, but said the use of force against the demonstrators was justified. "The opponents of disengagement carried out illegal demonstrations and used violence against the police," the spokesman said. "They blocked the roads, caused damage to patrol cars and property, and injured the police, who therefore used force. The police are sure that this indictment will fail," he added. Levy was in Gaza during the disengagement program in August and in Amona at the beginning of this month, when he joined thousands of protesters who tried to prevent the demolition of nine houses. He said police beat him on all parts of his body, although he hasn't filed a complaint about this. "I still don't know which policeman beat me up," he said. The Justice Ministry said two indictments have been issued against policemen for the use of violence against disengagement protesters. In addition, the Police Investigative Department (PID) has started another four disciplinary proceedings against policemen. One senior officer suspected of illegally using force is Asst.-Cmdr. Effi Mor, head of the Lahish District. The ministry also clarified on Wednesday that it has received 14 complaints against the police in relation to the evacuation of Amona, when about 250 people were injured during clashes. None of these complaints involve sexual harassment.