Court censures ex-police officer for striking Arab lawyer during protest

Court rejects man's claim that protesters had physically attacked him first, was acting in self-defense.

Scales of Justice 370 (photo credit: REUTERS / Stephane Mahe)
Scales of Justice 370
(photo credit: REUTERS / Stephane Mahe)
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) announced on Thursday that the police disciplinary court has convicted and censured former police deputy commander for the Galilee region Kobi Bachar for unjustifiably striking female Israeli Arab lawyer Meissa Irshaid at a “Nakba Day” protest in May 2011.
The court rendered its decision on October 22, but it appears that the case was not announced until the 45 days to appeal expired, making the ruling final.
The court rejected Bachar’s claim that protesters had physically attacked him first and that he was acting in self defense after reviewing multiple videos of the demonstration showing that no one attacked him.
Bachar arrived at the protest near the Lebanese border, in which Israeli Arab activists were protesting to show solidarity with demonstrators on the Lebanese side of the border.
PCATI said that Irshaid was accompanying the demonstrators to monitor police behavior as part of her work for the NGO.
She said that the demonstrators were being stopped and encumbered in their efforts to reach a certain location and that five protesters had been arrested.
When Irshaid inquired as to why, Bachar slapped her in the face and arrested her as he simultaneously had tear gas launched toward other demonstrators.
At the time, Ishai Menuchin, PCATI’s executive director said, “Israel’s police force continues to prove that the rule of law remains foreign from its perspective.
The physical assault and arrest of an attorney who approached an officer in order to inquire into the reason for the arrests of demonstrators is unacceptable, immoral and patently illegal.”