Policeman charged in J'lem shooting

November shooting resulted in death of 36-year-old Samir Ribhi Dari.

issawiya 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
issawiya 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
An Israeli border policeman who shot dead an east Jerusalem man during a routine arrest operation last year was charged with manslaughter Monday in the Jerusalem District Court. The fatal shooting, which spurred a night of Arab rioting, was found to have been unjustified by a justice ministry investigation. The 21-year-old policeman, Shmuel Yehezkel, who has been suspended from active duty, was indicted following a personal hearing on the case, the justice ministry said. The incident began during a routine police arrest operation of a suspected Palestinian car thief near the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at Mount Scopus on the night of November 9. Yehezkel was one of two border policemen guarding the alleged thief, Tawfik Dari, who is also suspected of assaulting police during his arrest, when a private car pulled up to the scene, the indictment states. According to the charge sheet, the brother of the detainee got out of the vehicle and ran towards his brother who was under arrest. The second border policeman warned the man, 36-year-old Samir Ribhi Dari, of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, not to approach his brother, threatening him with his gun. Dari then ran back to the car, according to the terse but severe indictment. As he was trying to get back inside the vehicle Yehezkel opened fire, grazing the back of the car with a bullet. The border policeman then ran up to the brother of the detainee and shot him in the back at close range, mortally wounding him, the charge sheet reads. The wounded Dari died shortly thereafter in the emergency room at Hadassah University Hospital at Mount Scopus. After the shooting, scores of angry Arab residents from the village, known as a hotbed of extremism in the city, tried to storm the entrance to the hospital. The rioters set cars on fire, prompting police, in a rare safety measure, to bar students from the Hebrew University from exiting the campus. A subsequent autopsy on the body of the deceased at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine revealed he had been shot in the back, contradicting initial claims by police that Dari had been shot after trying to run over an officer, and corroborating eyewitness accounts by villagers that the man had been killed in cold blood.