Despite video clip, fist-punch not acknowledged
Updated: Jan 24, 2022
Honenu is representing those who are insisting on the investigation of the death of Ahuvia Sandak z”l who was tragically killed in a police car chase and defending the many who are being detained while demonstrating for change in police behavior. The car Ahuvia was in with four other boys overturned when the police car collided with it from behind. Please click here for a list of posts connected to the case.
Sunday, October 10, 2021, 8:48 Yassam policeman Or Kalfon was documented punching a minor in the face at a demonstration after the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l in a police car chase. Despite the video clip, the disciplinary department of the Israeli Police did not acknowledge the punch and put Kalfon on trial for the lesser charge of hitting the minor. On behalf of the minor, Honenu filed a suit against the policeman. The disciplinary department cited “difficulty regarding the evidence” and upheld the lesser charge.
The incident occurred in February, during a demonstration opposite the home of Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana demanding an external investigative committee to examine the circumstances of the death of Sandak. A video clip recorded at the demonstration shows a Yassam policeman punching a minor in the face with enough force for him to be thrown backwards. There were no grounds for the assault.
The fist punch; Video credit: Yedidya Grossman
In the suit, the photographer of the video clip formally declared the identity of the policeman, which he verified with the assistance of other video clips from the same protest. The policemen at the protest were all wearing face masks in accordance with coronavirus regulation, and therefore it was not possible to identify the offending policeman from only the video clip documenting the assault.
Despite the clear documentation of the incident, the disciplinary indictment filed against Kalfon at the Jerusalem Disciplinary Court, describes the incident thus: “[the Yassam policeman] pushed the protester back as he hit him in the face with his right hand, and the minor moved back. The defendant, by hitting the minor in the face with his hand, used excessive force.”
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who is representing the youth, is of the opinion that details of the incident were altered in the bill of indictment. Yado sent a request to the prosecution, writing that “the current written record regarding hitting the minor’s face with the defendant’s right hand lacks the main point, and that is that the blow was a fist punch, and that should be in writing”
The disciplinary department replied that they are unable to see the fist-punch: “After examining the investigative evidence again… we have reached the conclusion that there is a difficulty regarding the evidence to attribute to the defendant (the policeman) a fist-punch.” They decided not to alter the description of the incident in the indictment.
Honenu: “‘They have eyes, but do not see.’ The entire incident was filmed and documented. The policeman is clearly seen punching the youth directly in the face, which constitutes excessive and disproportionate use of force. We hope that the disciplinary department will open their eyes and see the injustice that has been done to the youth who only wanted to realize his right to protest.”