Azoulay slams Cohen’s absence from police brutality hearing

Knesset c’tee chairman condemns police chief’s decision to skip planned appearance before Internal Affairs and Environment Committee.

Police insp.-gen. David Cohen 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Police insp.-gen. David Cohen 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The decision by Israel Police Inspector- General David Cohen to skip a planned appearance before the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on police brutality has drawn fierce condemnation.
Committee chairman David Azoulay (Shas) used unprecedented language on Wednesday to slam Cohen’s failure to attend.
“In his absence from the committee, the police chief acted with a kind of violence against the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee,” Azoulay said.
He added that the session had been scheduled one month ago, in accordance with the date requested by Cohen.
In talks between the police chief and Azoulay, Cohen asked that the meeting also deal with violence by members of the public against police officers – a request Azoulay said he had approved.
Azoulay said Cohen notified him “at the last moment” of his decision not to arrive, and indirectly, “through an aide to the public security minister... after the committee made a public announcement about the meeting.”
He said he expected a minimum level of courtesy from the police chief, and that such an important session dealing with police violence against civilians “cannot take place without the police chief.”
With those remarks, Azoulay dispersed the meeting, apologizing to senior police officers who attended, and to other experts present.
A statement released by police said, “The police inspector-general’s bureau ensured that the committee was notified ahead of time – as is suitable and accepted – that the police inspectorgeneral was unable to participate.”
The statement continued, “As someone who ensures that he arrives at various Knesset committees, and understands their great importance, the inspector-general dispatched the head of the Investigations and Intelligence Branch, Cmdr. Yoav Seglovitch, and other senior officers, to take part in this important session. Beyond that, we have no intention of responding to the things said at the committee following its cancellation.”