Honenu demands committee to examine police brutality
Thursday, March 30, 2017, 14:26 Following an incident in Wadi Joz, Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado has called for a committee to examine police brutality. In a letter he sent to Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, Yado places the responsibility for rising police brutality on the Israeli Police Command and the Police Investigation Unit (PIU), and strongly criticizes the announcement by the Police Commissioner censuring the policeman from Wadi Joz, calling it “turning a blind eye”. “The renouncement of responsibility for the policeman’s conduct could have been praiseworthy had it also included acknowledgement of responsibility by the police [for monitoring police brutality in general], wrote Yado. “However when renouncement of responsibility for the actions of the policeman is not accompanied by acknowledgement of [general] responsibility then complete responsibility is placed on the policeman and a blind eye is turned towards the responsibility of the Israeli Police for the brutality of its forces.” “As someone who has in the framework of Honenu filed dozens of complaints against policemen, whether for violent incidents or for mendacious reports or for illegal entry to yards or for illegal confiscation of cell phones or for tampering with evidence, and encounters over and over again cases closed without examination or without justification or with a feeble excuse, I know that police brutality is not an exceptional occurrence but rather the consequence of a policy of the police, mainly of the PIU, and also of the various branches of the Attorney General’s office, which protects policemen,” added Yado. “In addition to the complaints we filed we received hundreds of complaints which we rejected out of hand in light of the lack of motivation projected by the investigating authorities to investigate complaints, particularly when they are filed without visual documentation.” “That being the situation, the Wadi Joz incident is not exceptional in terms of the violence used, but rather by the fact that the violence was documented by a camera lens. The policeman from Wadi Joz is responsible for one incident. However the Israeli Police Command and the PIU are responsible for the spreading phenomenon of police brutality.” Yado added that, “Hardly a day goes by, including today, that I do not receive a complaint of police brutality, and on the other hand complaint cases are closed one by one without an investigation even being opened. The system is protecting policemen against whom complaints have been filed like a mother protecting her cubs. There is no sign of an intention to start a line of action that will strike a balance between the obligation to use force and the obligation to use it legally.” “If only the police used such a firm hand against police brutality then there would be none. The fact that brutality is so widespread among policemen indicates a serious failing in guidance by the senior command. “The police brutality and the lack of action by the individuals responsible for effective oversight is weakening the public trust in the police. “At this time the police should undergo self-examination and therefore we are of an opinion that there is cause to found an examining committee which will be open to hearing the viewpoints of relevant individuals from the public, concerning police brutality, preventative measures and criticism after the fact,” added Yado.