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Case of minor’s complaint of police brutality closed due to “lack of public interest”

Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 9:52 The Police Investigation Unit decided to close a complaint case of grave police brutality on a 14 year old youth due to “lack of public interest”. The incident occurred almost one year ago. As the youth and three of his friends were walking on Shmuel HaNavi Street in Jerusalem, policemen demanded that they present their ID cards. The youths asked the policemen to identify themselves. One of them refused and an argument ensued. In the end, the police detained all four youths, some of them violently, on suspicion of obstructing a policeman in the line of duty. The youths were taken to the Lev HaBira Police Station and interrogated. The 14 year old youth said that the policeman from the Lev HaBira Police Station in Jerusalem, who refused to identify himself, was concerned that the youths had filmed the detention, including the police brutality, on their cellular phones, and therefore demanded over and over that they give him their phones. The youth described how he was treated by the policeman at the police station, to the Police Investigation Unit investigators and to Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado: “The policeman took me into the corridor and locked the door. We were there alone, he and I. He started to yell at me and told me, ‘Come! I’ll show you what the Shabak [ISA] is.’ He stripped me and yelled and pinned me to the wall upside-down with my face to the wall,” described the youth to the Police Investigation Unit investigators and to Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado. “He told me, ‘Now you have one last chance to tell me where your cell phone is,’ and then he pinned me to the wall, kicked me, choked me, gave me a few punches to my back and after that I told him that my friend has my phone. Then he said to me, ‘Very nice,” and then he sat me down with another policeman while I was handcuffed on the floor.” The Police Investigation Unit apparently was not impressed by the serious complaint, and recently informed the minor that the complaint has been closed due to “lack of public interest”. Police Investigation Unit: “After examining your complaint on the matter at hand, and after we seriously considered the entirety of the circumstances relevant to this complaint, we came to the conclusion that it would not be correct to open a criminal investigation in this instance, and that is due to reasons concerning examination of the public interest in investigating this case.” Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado, who is handling the case, filed an appeal with the Attorney General’s office on the closing of the case, and demanded that the investigation with the Police Investigation Unit (PIU) be reopened. “The matter at hand is a complaint about a policeman’s assault of a minor, which is a serious violation, and the Police Investigation Unit’s conduct indicates a lack of motivation to thoroughly investigate the incident and bring the policemen who transgressed to justice. It also gives the impression of contempt of the procedural rights of the complainant,” said Yado. “The PIU closed the case claiming lack of public interest, and contrary to the law requiring substantiation, did not justify the decision despite the fact that the grounds for the complaint are unusual and warrant particular justification. After we photocopied the investigative material we discovered that the PIU did not even interrogate the policeman against whom the complaint was filed.”

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