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Despite documentation, two cases of police brutality closed

Thursday, December 1, 2016, 9:14 Honenu reports that during the last days of November the Police Investigation Unit announced the closing of two cases filed against the Merchav David (Old City) Police for police brutality against Jews at the gates to the Temple Mount. No investigation was carried out, despite the documentation presented in the cases. One of the cases is a complaint filed after an incident on the day the Tisha B’Av fast was observed this year (Av 10/August 14). A policeman was filmed threatening a young woman sitting near the Tribes’ Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem that he would “break her head” if she didn’t leave the area. She had not committed any violation of the law. The Police Investigation Unit (PIU) recently informed Honenu that despite the clear and explicit threat the case has been closed because, “The full extent of the incident’s circumstances does not justify opening an investigation because a criminal proceeding is not the appropriate framework for its clarification.” The PIU also claims that the complainant did not cooperate with them. The claim was completely refuted by Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado who is representing her. In response to the claim Yado sent a letter to the PIU in which he stated that the complainant telephoned the PIU several times and was told that a PIU investigator would contact her, which the complainant states has not yet occurred. Yado demanded that the case be reopened. The second case is of a young man who was prevented from ascending the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av in 2015. He stated that he was assaulted and detained. According to a complaint filed on his behalf by Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado, in addition to the detention which a Jerusalem Magistrate Court judge described as “aggressive”, and the claims by the detainee of violence used against him without cause only because he arrived wearing tefilin at a gate to the Temple Mount, a policeman by the name Moti Gabai prevented two civilians from filming the incident. Despite the documentation submitted to the PIU they responded that an initial examination showed that, “There is no foundation which indicates a reasonable basis to suspect that the defendant [the policeman] committed a criminal violation.” Yado requested that the PIU provide specifics and clarify if the response refers to both the claim of violence and the claim that filming the incident was prevented or only to one of the claims. Yado stated that the letter from the PIU, as has been the case in previous instances, is not sufficiently specific and does not justify the PIU’s claims. Also it seems that the PIU does not consider the prevention by a policeman of an individual to film an incident to be a violation of the law. “Concerning the prevention of filming [the incident], in my opinion this is a very serious act of inappropriately applied police authority in order to cover up for policemen beating a civilian,” stated Yado and added that, “Unfortunately the PIU continues to systematically and indiscriminately close cases. How is it that a policeman filmed beating a civilian who filmed police brutality and was prevented from continuing to film, has not been investigated? How is it that a case of a policeman filmed threatening to seriously injure a young woman was closed? The lack of motivation of the PIU [to investigate] covers up for police brutality and allows for its continuation. The PIU must conduct a thorough “house cleaning” in order to change the situation.”

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